ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida joins the majority of the country to do away with greyhound racing in the state, a decision that was made in 2018.

What You Need To Know

  • Derby Lane will close after its last race on Sunday night

  • The family owned organization has run for 95 years

  • Amendment 13 was passed in 2018 by Florida lawmakers, it will phase out live greyhound races statewide by 2021

An empty stadium will be the new reality for the Derby Lane after the last race on Sunday night. The family owned organization had hoped to see their centennial anniversary but is instead saying goodbye after 95 years.

Marketing manager, Alexis Winning told Spectrum News’ Katya Guillaume, “It’s been very surreal for all of us here, it’s bittersweet.”

For the past several years, Roscoe Thomas and his grandson Jason have been first in line for races, now they are first in line for a photo opportunity to say goodbye to the track.

While waiting, Thomas said, “It’s been here a long time and a lot of people enjoy coming here and they are going to miss them.”

In 2018, Florida voters approved Amendment 13 which will phase out live greyhound races statewide by 2021, races Jason Howard enjoyed watching with his grandfather.

Howard said, “This is special for me, I traveled down here on Christmas to spend Christmas with him because this is closing. I will miss this place, I will miss those cherished moments with my grandfather.”

The Derby Lane has seen everyone from Jim Thorpe to Babe Ruth, now those cherished memories will turn to canvases and on be display for fans to take home. 

Fighting back tears, Winning added, “I’m a little sad I’m not going to see those dogs tail wagging every day.”

She continued to say that they are not sure what this will turn into after demolition, but they do have a few interests.

The poker club will still be in use. As for the dogs, they will continue to race where it is allowed, others will live on a farm with other former racers.