Dog Racing

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Dog Racing History

The greyhound arrived in Europe more than 3,500 years ago. In 1014, King Canute of England enacted the Forest Laws, which stated that only noblemen could own and hunt with greyhounds.

In the 1500s, Queen Elizabeth I abolished this law and later initiated the first formal rules of greyhound coursing. Thus, greyhound or dog racing became known as the "Sport of Queens."

In the early 1900s, huge crowds would gather to watch greyhound coursing. In the interest of safety, enclosed courses were introduced. These enclosed courses were much smaller than the open courses and speed over agility was of utmost importance.

It was just a matter of time before racing would take over from the well established coursing.

On July 24, 1926, in front of 1,700 spectators, seven Greyhounds leapt out of the traps at Belle Vue Greyhound Stadium and raced to catch an electric hare. This marked the first ever modern dog race in England.

Soon after, dog racing tracks sprung up all over the United Kingdom and dog racing was firmly established in the sporting scene.

Meanwhile, In the late 1800's, American farmers imported greyhounds to help curb the multiplying jackrabbit population. Because of the greyhound's speed and natural instincts, they became the focus of popular neighborhood competitions. These informal matches were the first organized dog racing events.

On 1919, the first dog racing track was opened in Emeryville, California.

Today, dog racing is the sixth largest spectator sport in America. It is legal in 20 states including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Nevada and South Dakota do not offer live greyhound racing, but allow wagering on simulcasts.

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