On election night 2018, Florida voters banned dog racing with 69% of those casting ballots in favor of passing Amendment 13 to the Florida constitution.  Florida follows five other states that have outlawed dog racing in the past two decades.  By 2020, Florida’s eleven greyhound tracks will close to racing, which will leave only six greyhound tracks in the United States operating in five states.

Greyhound racing in Florida began in the 1920s at Hialeah.  Dog racing in 2016-2017 accounted for 25% of Florida’s pari-mutuel revenue, though the business has been in a secular decline.

The passage of Amendment 13 culminated some 20 years of advocacy by an organization called GREY2K USA Worldwide.  A major point emphasized in the campaign to eliminate dog racing was that Florida’s Department of Business and Regulation found that 460 greyhounds died since 2013, when Florida began tracking the mortality numbers.

The overwhelming passage of Amendment 13 should send a wakeup message to the horse racing industry.  On a single election night in a future year, horse racing in a major racing and breeding state like Florida could be ended.

Horse racing, you say, is much more humane than dog racing.  Whether you and I agree with this point of view is immaterial.  The only perspective that matters is how the public in general and voters specifically look upon the sport.

It is beyond the scope of this blog post to suggest a strategy for horse racing, other than to say, emphatically, that people in the industry had better put aside differences and come to an agreement on such urgent matters as a nationwide medication protocol, aftercare as an alternative to slaughter, and further progress on curbing breakdowns.  Divisive internal debates about, for notable example, race-day furosemide will be resolved for the industry if there is no racing in prominent racing states like Florida, California, or who knows where else.

Horse racing at Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs (or elsewhere nationally) is permitted by the consent of the public.  This approval can be taken away with alacrity and the outcome would reverberate from racetracks to breeding farms, auction companies, and other commercial enterprises.

Copyright © 2018 Horse Racing Business


  1. If the Florida vote does not bring the many dueling factions in tb racing together, nothing will. You really put the peril in full view. I am not optimistic.