St. Pete’s historic Derby Lane hosts final greyhound racing event

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s the end of an era for the oldest operating greyhound track in the world.

Sunday was the final day for live greyhound racing at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg. People were in line 30 minutes to an hour before the doors opened.

Greyhounds have raced around the track at Derby Lane since 1925. But

But as of Dec. 31, 2020, greyhound racing at Florida tracks will be banned. That’s because Florida voters passed Amendment 13 in 2018, approving the Ban on Wagering on Dog Races Amendment.

Bill Woodrow and his two sons were just some of the hundreds of people who came to witness history Sunday. It wasn’t Woodrow’s first time at Derby Lane, but it was a first for his sons.

“I thought I’d bring them out to see the history of St. Petersburg,” Woodrow said. “It’s part of the excitement of being around here.”

Jim and Jacqui Burkowsi came up from Englewood.

“We want to see it the last time here and get some memories,” the couple said. “Today is the end of an era, I think.”

Marketing Director Alexis Winning said there are only three states left where dog racing is legal: Iowa, Arkansas and West Virginia. She said Iowa and Arkansas will phase out racing by the end of next year.

“(The) majority of the dogs that have raced at Derby Lane have been adopted out,” Winning said. “Some will go back to the farm. We won’t just tear everything down, it will take some time.”

Winning said there’s no plan right now for the future of the property, but the poker room and simulcast areas will remain open for off-track horse betting.

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