Friday, November 09, 2012

Friday Hound Blogging

You know, sometimes we think we're a little hard on the overlords, soulless bags of wasted protein that they are. Oops. See what we mean?  After all, it is possible that there's an overlord somewhere who actually cares about the dogs as self aware, living creatures who have a right not to be exploited, who have a right to their own existence and the freedom to live out their lives as nature sees fit, not as tools for the short term enrichment of  others.

Or not. Anyway, the point is the overlords are celebrating a major milestone this week and we here in the marbled halls of IM Central are declaring an overlord amnesty day so they can enjoy their accomplishment.
When it opened 20 years ago Saturday, Gulf Greyhound Park drew 8,000 customers who wagered $870,000. A few days later, what was then the largest greyhound track in the world had a record-setting 11,653 customers, and a month later, customers wagered about $1 million in one day. By the end of 1993, its first full year of operation, average attendance at the track was 4,190 people a day. Visitors wagered $268.38 million that year, and more than 1,100 people worked at the track.
Now, anyone outside of the Romney campaign and Karl Rove who's remotely connected to real math will tell you that's a chunk of change, and since the overlords measure success by the number of trailer payments they can make in a row, we have to give this one to them. Heck, probably even put glass in the trailer windows too.
Twenty years later?
Well, twenty years is plenty of time to create a tradition, to establish a track record (and not a rack record for injured and killed dogs either--although come to think of it...oops, did it again). Anyway, with a start like that, in twenty years the overlords must have grown into well respected, contributing members of the community, offering entertainment, economic benefits and career opportunities
On average, fewer than 500 people come to the track each day, and the wagers on live and simulcast racing were about $35.4 million in 2011, according to Texas Racing Commission statistics. There are now about 195 — mostly part-time — employees.
Or the track could become an eye sore, magnet for crime and drugs and a drain on the local and state economies, that's also a possibility.
As the track prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary this weekend, officials said they are committed to keeping the doors open as the track looks to a new future — possibly with casino-style gambling.
Another possibility? 24 hour laundromat. Most of the customers bet with quarters now anyway so synergy!
“For us to have a restaurant that seated more than 1,800 people, it was just unbelievable,” Gulf Greyhound Park Manager Sally Briggs said. Briggs is among the 37 employees who have been with the track since the start. She started as the administrative assistant for then manager Butch Hughes, worked her way up through the ranks and in 2003 was named general manager.
 Well, in all honesty she was the only one left who could spell general manager so, you know, you soak the rubes with the team you have, not the team you wish you had.
“Even though we are not what we used to be, we’re still holding our own,” Briggs said. “We had a great spring and summer. (Wagering) was up, and attendance was good.” Simulcast racing — satellite feeds from horse and dog tracks from across the country — now accounts for most of the wagering and draws most of the crowd, Briggs said.
There you go then. It's the 21st century business model: base your business on people you don't know in places you've never been to. It's like a license to print money, except someone else's name is on the license, and they have the printing press, but other than that, profit!
After years of attendance and wagering declines, the track is aggressively working to bring more customers into the facility, Briggs said. Gulf Greyhound recently formed a partnership with the new Tanger Outlets to promote the facility. The track loaned its parking lot when the outlet center opened its doors to handle overflow parking and shuttle service, something Briggs said they’ll do again Thanksgiving weekend.
That's the spirit Ms. Briggs! We can just see the slogan now" "Want an exciting time? Come to Gulf Greyhound Track and we'll give you a ride to Tanger Outlet! Fun for the whole family! That's what 20 years of experience in the business will do for you.
The track is advertising more, too, she said.
Well of course you are. You've really hit on something here Ms. Brigss. You could probably give people rides all over the city. The state even! Think of the opportunities! Oh, one thing though. Greyhound Bus? Already taken.
Assisted-living centers from the Houston-area bus residents to the track each Wednesday afternoon for a matinee race program and an inexpensive buffet.
OK, we like the cheap buffet, but making the old people race for it seems a bit harsh, besides, doesn't the track sand gum up the wheels of their Hoverounds?
There’s also a weekly Snowman Poker tournament in which players play for points to enter tournaments elsewhere.
Right, bring people on to the track by telling them it will provide them with an opportunity to go somewhere else. Sort of a reverse bait and switch, huh Super C?

Super C is a very sweet, patient and gentle boy. He wants to be close to you and loves attention. He is housebroken. He will go in his crate but does not like it. He is not cat safe and shows a bit too much attention to small dogs. He is a big goofy boy who runs into things and trips on rugs. Super C would do well in a working home. He would do well with older well-behaved children due to his clumsiness. He may accidentally knock small children down. He would do well as an only dog or in a home with dogs his own size. 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.

No comments: