Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday Hound Blogging

Hmm...As that highly respected and oft quoted contemporary philosopher Scooby Do says, "Rut Ro."

The Jacksonville Kennel Club first opened its doors in 1935, and live greyhound racing has continued at the track on McDuff Avenue for more than 70 years. But that long slice of Jacksonville sports history reaches the finish line this week.

Overlords all over the Jacksonville area are trying to memorize the phrase "Welcome to Walmart."

Jacksonville Kennel Club remains open for simulcasting - meaning instead of live racing, the races are shown on television screens throughout the facility. "We're not sure how long we'll do that though," said track spokesman Michael Munz. "People just come in to get out of the rain and they keep asking the staff to change the channel to Oprah."

Jacksonville Greyhound Racing says it isn't abandoning its oldest facility and is making the change because of construction concerns near Jacksonville Kennel Club that inconvenience customers. "Both of them," Munz added.

In interviews with the sober patrons at the track last week, all said that Jacksonville Greyhound Racing wants to move year-round racing to Orange Park because it's a newer facility in a more upscale area. "Them folks got all their teeth up there," said Robert Vaughn, who says he lives about six miles from the track. "Under that railroad bridge next to the highway."

"It is under construction," said Mike Miller, director of external affairs for Jacksonville Transportation Authority. "We have a project to do, and they create short-term inconveniences." But Miller said the JTA does its best to work with businesses and residents to minimize any disruptions. As for the construction's impact on the kennel club, Miller said, "I'm sure there are other ways to access the facility. Especially since most of the people that go there can't afford cars."

"That's just the people who work here," countered Munz.

According to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the total betting handle declined significantly at the Jacksonville Kennel Club (total handle of $7.4 million on live racing, down 16 percent last year).

"The decision has been made, and business is business," said a patron who identified himself as Bernard, but wouldn't give his last name. "You look at the accessibility and the socio-economic status of this neighborhood, and we are at a loss." When asked where he learned a term like socio-economic status, Bernard responded that he heard it on Judge Judy.

Well, maybe if Oprah isn't on, someone will tune in Judge Judy for him, right Albert?

Albert is a very happy, mellow, nice boy. He decapitated the poinsettia with his tail when he got excited. He sits on command and is very well mannered. Albert is very affectionate and a kisser. He’s a shadow and loves to be with people. He plays with his rabbit toy and throws it up in the air; he knows he has to put it down before the door gets opened to let him outside. He is a happy-go-lucky dog that loves attention by way of hugs and pats. Of course, he does love the treats. He'll sit like a good boy as a hint. Albert would do well in a working family home with older well-mannered children, 10 and up. He would be fine as an only dog or with medium to larger size dogs in the home. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.

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