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Last live race at Tucson Greyhound Park - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Last live race at Tucson Greyhound Park

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After 72 years, the last live dog race went off at Tucson Greyhound Park late Saturday night.

For some, it is a victory for animal rights, with a majority of the greyhounds never having to step on to a track again. But for others it is a loss of a livelihood and an income source for the City of South Tucson.

Tucson Greyhound Park opened in what is the City of South Tucson in 1944. Since then thousands of races have been run. Last month, after years of lobbying, the State of Arizona officially ended live dog racing in the state.

Michael Racy, a lobbyist for Tucson Greyhound Park, said shutting down live racing at TGP is a big loss for the community.

"It's still the largest employer in South Tucson and the largest tax payer in South Tucson", Racy said, "There are about a 100 people, a little over a 100 people that work at the track at this point, it'll be a loss in the number of jobs, some of the shopping by the people that are there. It'll result in some reduced tax revenues for the community as well.

Tucson Greyhound Park will remain open as an off track betting site, continuing televise close circuit broadcasts of other dog and horse races around the country.

With the end of live racing comes the placing of some 270 greyhounds. Racy said the Tucson Greyhound Park management group has contributed $100,000 to help in the effort.

Four of the six kennel owners in Tucson are giving up all of their dogs. Kennel owner, Nancy Guimond said letting go of her dogs will not be easy.

"I have to say goodbye to 48 of my best friends, I worked with these guys for two years and to see them go heartbreaks me", said Guimond, (The) track has been fantastic to me, always treated me well and treated my animals well."

Bert Mahan, is a dog racing fan and frequent visitor to the park, he said it's tough to see live racing end at the park.

"It's the end of an era. It's very saddening", said Mahan, "But it's what everybody wanted."

Michael Racy said 150 to170 dogs will continue racing at one of the 12 tracks that are still operating around the country.

Nancy Guimond said, on behalf of the kennel owners, she wanted to thank all of the adoption agencies for their tireless efforts to find good homes for their dogs.

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