March 30, 2023

Pet Daily Nursing

Healthy Pet Lovers

With the chase over, dog track goes grey to blue

With the chase over, dog track goes grey to blue

WEST MEMPHIS — Then there was just one.

One particular extra 583-garden sprint. A person final likelihood to chase “Rusty.”

A single very last working of the greyhounds.

Saturday night time, the winner of the “Last Greyt Race” in Southland Greyhound Park’s 66-calendar year record was a pet named Smile N Signify It.

As the sun established on 2022 and the observe, entrepreneurs Mary and David Robinette didn’t come to feel like celebrating.

“Very sad, truly,” said David Robinette trackside afterward. “We’ve done this our full existence and which is the previous one particular. … I really don’t know how to put it into phrases.”

For Mary Robinette, observing the closing functioning was “exciting, thrilling, sad.”

The pair initially met at a doggy kennel in North Sioux City, S.D, 42 decades back.

The dog’s title, supplied by Mary, came from the title of a book composed by Bud and Eunice Williams, pioneers of livestock advertising and marketing and stockmanship.

“So because we’re heading into cattle [after dog racing], it really is type of bittersweet,” Mary reported. “It’s been a hell of a journey.”

Stated David, “These puppies have taken us and accomplished them like we’ve hardly ever even imagined. Found all parts of the entire world and every little thing else, and they have been seriously superior to us.”

The grey, overcast working day was marked by numerous commemorative items, which includes a application with 4 various vintage handles from the track’s heyday, each bearing the title, “The ‘Last Greyt Race.'”

Some been given a vial complete of sand taken from the track surface area.

The greyhounds and Robinettes were not the only kinds closing the e-book on their Southland tenure.

There was Robert Thorne, president of the Arkansas Greyhound Kennel Association.

Thorne’s historical past with Southland dates again to when he was 16.

Perfectly, that is what he place on his first software to get the job done at Southland.

“I began out strolling puppies,” reported Thorne, who was essentially 15 at the time and is now 62. “My mother labored in this article [as a greeter]. And, I dislike to admit, I lied about a single yr so I could go and get a position.”

Now, as operator of a kennel that homes 12 puppies, his last race was Race 10 of 14.

“It’s unfortunate,” Thorne said. “I’ve been accomplishing this 45 yrs here. … I have been excellent until the final 3, 4 hrs. This near to that previous race is emotional. We’ve had some of the finest dogs in the country in our kennel.”

In race No. 10, the pet from his kennel, Slatex Sena, confronted off versus seven other greyhounds … and came in past.

Thorne watched, standing at the environmentally friendly trackside railing when keeping his 15-month-aged granddaughter, Madison.

“I’m satisfied and everybody’s coming off safe currently,” Thorne claimed. “So today’s ending up remaining a fantastic working day for everyone. …

“The greyhounds [are] the rationale we have all the things we have, and we are really blessed.”

Slatex and the other puppies all chased “Rusty,” the track’s mechanical rabbit, around the dust keep track of.

Very well, it is a lot more like a “stuffed pretend bone,” claimed Southland’s President and Standard Supervisor Osi Imomoh.

The moment the 14th and ultimate race was above Saturday, what would come about to Rusty?

Imomoh mentioned a whole lot of men and women had been inquiring, “Can I get that?”

Rusty is staying in the Southland family. The rabbit or bone, whichever you desire, will probably be preserved and put into a shadowbox to set on display screen.

Imomoh claimed this amid the common cacophony of the track’s “Kennel Club,” as the loudspeaker designed bulletins and a lounge singer performed tunes while she sat at an electronic piano in the corner.

Imomoh’s route to overseeing the stop of Southland’s racing period was an strange one particular.

Born in Nigeria and elevated in London and Amsterdam, he arrived to the United States to attend faculty at the College of Houston. He at first pursued chemical engineering for a few yrs, just before changing program into hospitality.

“The math aids becoming in the gaming field, but also hospitality was my heart,” stated Imomoh.

He’s been the common manager of Southland for about six months, but has been with Delaware North, its guardian organization, due to the fact 2006.

Again when he was a child, if he had been informed he’d wind up as the GM of a casino in jap Arkansas, “I would have explained to you you ended up insane,” mentioned Imomoh.

But here he was, ushering out the stop of six many years of historical past in West Memphis.

“At any time that adjust occurs, thoughts are tough, but you know that when a single doorway is closing, an additional door opens,” Imomoh explained.

“Our objective is to be listed here and accomplishing much more factors in the local community in the many years to appear,” he extra.

Greyhound racing was a staple of Southland because the observe initially opened in 1956 as Southland Greyhound Park and was the only gambling venue in the Mid-South.

Thorne remembers nights in the late ’70s and early ’80s, in the days of the Kennel Club necessitating a accommodate and tie, when 10,000 to 12,000 individuals crammed on to the property. Cars and trucks stretched from at the rear of the track’s backstretch to the kennel facility.

“It produced West Memphis on the map,” Thorne said.

Imomoh believed 2,600 persons would go to Saturday’s ultimate day of races.

3 several years back, Southland Casino Racing and the Arkansas Greyhound Kennel Affiliation reached a pact to progressively period out dwell greyhound racing at the West Memphis observe by Saturday.

The shift away from canine racing was in element a reaction to issues about the therapy of race pet dogs. Shrinking attentions spans ended up also a element. Why hold out 11 minutes for yet another pet dog race when one can push a button on a slot machine each number of seconds?

Southland is the beneficiary, along with Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Scorching Springs, of a 2018 point out constitutional modification that allowed the two racetracks to establish and function entire-fledged casinos.

Development of Southland’s $320 million hotel enlargement task — which includes a 20-tale building and a 113-sq. foot gaming ground — was formally done Dec. 15. The keep track of will be shut down and Southland will announce foreseeable future programs later on this 12 months. The viewing place will continue to be used to simulcast occasions from throughout the region.

With the phasing out of dog racing, Southland and its Mid-South Greyhound Adoption Choice went about seeking to come across homes for far more than 1,000 greyhounds. In May, the need for puppies resulted in a wait around record of up to six months.

Just after Saturday, there would be only one particular state remaining in the country — West Virginia — with greyhound racing. Thorne will deliver some of his pet dogs to a track there, in Wheeling.

“By Monday, there’ll be fewer than 100 dogs listed here,” Thorne mentioned. “When at just one time there had been 1,600.”

As Smile N Mean It is really photo was taken on the frontstretch, tears have been drop and hugs have been supplied.

The PA method crackled to lifestyle just one final time.

The announcer sent a message, one particular produced renowned by Edward R. Murrow in the 1950s when Southland was just obtaining commenced.

“Very good night time and very good luck.”