Iowa dog track owner expects to be running for a few more years

News, Sports

December 5th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — Florida voters chose last month to close all of that state’s dog tracks in 2020 — but the head of Iowa’s only greyhound racing track says he expects to be in business for at least a few more years. Iowa saw the number of dog tracks cut in half after the Iowa Legislature passed a bill in 2014 that shut down the Council Bluffs Greyhound track and turned over management of the Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque to the Iowa Greyhound Association. Track general manager, Brian Carpenter, says the closing of Florida’s 11 tracks by the end of 2020 could mean fewer dogs being bred to run at other tracks, including Iowa’s. “You know, I’ve heard over the years for many years how we were coming to an end, and we’re still hanging in there 34 years later. Hopefully we’ll have many more, but we’ll see what happens,” Carpenter says.

Iowa’s greyhound season runs from May through October, and many of the dogs at the Dubuque track have run in Florida during the winter. Jason Hess owns Xtrem Hess Racing kennel in Dubuque, one of nine that breed dogs that race at the Iowa facility. He says he’ll breed fewer greyhounds right away. “Because with less tracks coming — it takes about 18 months when puppies start racing, so almost two years after breeding them — and that’s when Florida is going to be ending. But we do have some tracks left, so we’re still going to be operational,” Hess says.

He says says it could become difficult to get enough dogs to race a full season. The Dubuque track will be one of just six greyhound tracks left in the U-S once Florida shuts down its track.