Greyhound racing as we know it, first took place in the 1920s. Since then, it’s become a global sport – and while in many countries, it’s a popular pastime for entertainment purposes, betting on the dogs is more prevalent in the likes of the US, the UK & Ireland, and Australia & New Zealand.
So, while you’re mulling over the latest greyhound tips, let’s take a look at some of the world’s biggest races, and how the rich history of the sport lives on today.
The UK & Ireland
While attendances have declined since their peak in the 1940s, greyhound racing still remains popular in the UK – with 19 registered stadiums, and three independent stadiums opening their doors to punters each year. The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) governs racing in the British Isles.
Races are split into competitions, and are graded – with the most prestigious being the Greyhound Derby, currently held at Towcester. Scotland also stages its equivalent, which is raced at Shawfield.
There are 17 greyhound stadiums in Ireland, and two of these are based in Northern Ireland, but are operated by the Greyhound Board Ireland (GBI). The primary race in Ireland is the Irish Greyhound Derby, which is held at Shelbourne Park in Dublin. The three Derbies across the UK & Ireland are vastly considered ‘the big three’,
In the UK & Ireland, there is a specific colour scheme, which relates to the trap number and subsequently, the dog’s jacket. These are the same for every race, and are as follows:
· Trap 1 = Red with white numeral
· Trap 2 = Blue with white numeral
· Trap 3 = White with black numeral
· Trap 4 = Black with white numeral
· Trap 5 = Orange with black numeral
· Trap 6 = Black & White stripes with red numeral
Australia & New Zealand
Greyhound racing is a little different down under, and each state and territory has its own governing body – meaning different rules and regulations across the country. However, the biggest authorities include Greyhound Racing New South Wales (GRNSW) and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV), who govern up to 40 racetracks.
The Melbourne Cup was previously the world’s richest race, but it has since been surpassed by Million Dollar Chase, raced at Wentworth Park. The races with a prize pot over $150,000 include:
- Million Dollar Chase (Wentworth Park) – $1,000,000
- Melbourne Cup (Sandown Park) – $435,000
- Australian Cup (The Meadows) – $300,000
- Golden Easter Egg (Wentworth Park) – $250,000
- Perth Cup (Cannington) – $150,000
- Garrards Gold Bullion (Albion Park) – $150,000
- TAB Topgun 525 (The Meadows) – $150,000
The United States
Similarly, in the US, greyhound racing rules and legislations vary, based on state or local law. Interestingly, like in the UK, there has been a sharp decline since its 1950s heyday. There are only four active racetracks, which conduct live racing onsite in 2021 – and most tracks use livestreaming.
The laws in Florida changed at the back end of last year, which saw Derby Lane shut its doors after 90 years of action. Once described as the Churchill Downs of greyhound racing, it was America’s oldest racetrack, but the state has seen a sorry decline – also being hit hard by the pandemic.
In 2022, the rules in Arkansas are set to change, and this will continue to phase out the number of tracks currently open. The four active racetracks in the US are:
· Southland Park Gaming and Racing (West Memphis, Arkansas)
· Q Casino (Dubuque, Iowa)
· Mardi Gras Casino and Resort (Cross Lanes, West Virginia)
· Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack (Wheeling, West Virginia)
Of all the countries, greyhound racing is on the wane in the US most prominently, but with many states allowing live streaming, surely this popular age-old pastime will never completely die?