It seems that the overlords in Colorado have turned nostalgic thanks to the probing work of professional journalistic reporter Irv Moss who is doing a whole series on sports that killed animals, but have since fallen out of favor (Next week: Bear Baiting: The Pro Wrestling Of The Animal World?)
Mile High Kennel Club in Commerce City was the flagship location of a flourishing greyhound racing business in Colorado that during its heyday in the 1980s filled dates on the calendar year-round."Time was you couldn't swing a dead cat in the stands without hitting a celebrity or a politician," said Arden Hartman, a member of the Mile High Kennel Club staff when it opened in 1949. "That was before people found out what happened to the dogs after their racing was finished. Man, if only we could have kept that secret." Hartman gets a far away look in his eye as he ponders what might have been.
"On our closing night, Aug. 31, 1982, our mutuel handle exceeded $1 million," said Hartman. "We were close to $1 million on several occasions."We feel obligated to step in here and remind the reader(s) that, as the overlords have said on numerous occasions, the money was secondary and it's all really about the dogs. We're sure Mr. Hartman simply wasn't quoted completely, and that part of his statement was lost.
Today, there is no live greyhound racing in Colorado. The last race was run at Mile High on June 28, 2008. Three other area tracks closed in the five preceding years. "Everybody has their own idea as to what happened," Hartman said.That's true, but all those ideas share the theme of mistreated, injured and killed greyhounds.
"It was a fun place to be," said Bill Lee, who started at Mile High as a "lead-out," the person who led the dogs out in the prerace parade. "Our racing dates started after the tracks in Florida closed for the season. Our fans got to see the best racing kennels that were available."
Right. Because the last thing the overlords needed was a bunch of dogs not earning their keep. So after they were done racing in the Flordia heat, they were shipped across country so they could run in the thin air of Colorado.
Pageantry was a big part of the racing scene. At Mile High, a bugler called the dogs to the track for each race and a live band would play between races. In the prerace parade for the Denver Post-Rocky Mountain Empire states event, each racer was accompanied by a flag from one of the Rocky Mountain Empire states.And the pageantry carried over into post race events too, like when a dog was taken out behind the kennels and shot because it wasn't winning. It was done with a ceremonial gun. Very tasteful.
"I run into people all the time who say they wish the dogs still were running," Hartman said.Of course they also say President Obama talks to them through the filling in their tooth, but as long as we're reliving old memories:
One year ago today, my second greyhound Lily died at 12 yrs 9 mos.Go read the whole thing. Now that's a memory worth having, huh Pinocchio?
Pinocchio is very mild mannered. He is very loving and affectionate. He likes to follow his foster mom around the house. He gives kisses and loves to be petted and snuggle. He puts his head in your lap and he gets along with the female greyhound in the home. He likes to play with toys. He likes to look at himself in the mirror. He is a curious, happy dog who prances when he walks. He also can sit. He has a pronounced overbite, which probably gave him his name. It is very endearing. He also sleeps on his back with his feet in the air in the “cockroach” position. Pinocchio would do well in a working family home with well-mannered older children, 12 and up. He would probably do best as an only dog, because he gets possessive of food/treats around other dogs. He may be okay in a home with other dogs, preferably female dogs, if the family has dog behavior experience. If he is in a home with another dog, he should be walked together with the dog. He needs a home that will provide structure and boundaries for him. 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.