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Palm Beach Kennel Club runs last live greyhound races

88-year tradition ends on New Year's Eve
Palm Beach Kennel Club runs its last live greyhound races
Posted at 5:00 PM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 17:02:27-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — On New Year's Eve, the Palm Beach Kennel club began running its last 30 greyhound races. The passing of Amendment 13 in the November elections puts an end to the practice starting Jan. 1, 2021.

PHOTO GALLERY: A look at the last day of live greyhound races at the Palm Beach Kennel Club

"It's a little depressing, I'll be honest with you because the track has been around for so long, almost 90 years," said Pat Rooney Jr., President of the Palm Beach Kennel Club.

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Sand flies through the air as greyhounds attempt a victory in race 6 on New Year's Eve at the Palm Beach Kennel Club.

Rooney said losing the live greyhound races is going to be tough, "The poker part of our business is really taken over, really over the last five/ten years in terms of revenue, but the dogs still meant something to us."

The Kennel Club said it's going to focus on the simulcast greyhound betting and poker.

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A man studies his guide on simulcasted greyhound races which will be able to continue into 2021. Only live races discontinue on New Year's Eve 2020.

Live betting on other races outside of Florida will continue.

"We hope to be here in some form for the next 88 years," said Rooney.

As for the race track space Rooney said he will make announcements on what it will develop into in four to six months. He said some of the ideas pitched have been motocross, drone racing, and jetski football.

"Obviously some of these ideas are a little out there," said Rooney.

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Workers check temperatures of guests before they can enter the Palm Beach Kennel Club on New Year's Eve.

Rooney says the club is trying to keep all of its employees and move the racing team into other departments, "Some of the jobs aren't going to be quite the same, but at the same time we are doing our best as we can. The club president thinks there are a few workers he might lose because they don't like their new assignment.

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A greyhound watches race six as the dogs turn the final curve.

As for the greyhounds, the club said they will be adopting some of them out, others will be racing at other tracks, and some will return to their owners. Rooney anticipates having the dog's homes by the end of Jan, "If that doesn't happen we are going to continue our program of adoption until they are adopted."