Blog Spotlight: The Professor

You know him as The Professor. He provides you with picks for his daily Pick of The Day race, as well as Handicapping Tips in his bi-weekly blog posts, This Week with The Professor. If you listen to our Catch the Action podcast, then you’ve heard The Professor go over his selected picks for certain races of the day, but who is the man behind The Professor? Well, let’s take a look!

The Professor, known to most as Steve, was born in Longview, Washington, and was raised in Portland, Oregon. Steve became involved in greyhound racing as a teenager, going to the track with his mom and brother-in-law to buy programs and pick dogs. It didn’t take long for Steve to realize that he had a knack for picking winners and when he reached 21, just out of college, he started betting for a living and placed in thoroughbred contests as well, taking 3rd and 5th at national handicapping contests in Las Vegas. With each win, Steve was able to collect money to help him launch an exciting career.

“I made enough money to buy a couple of dogs and then my brother and I started working for kennels.”

But Steve set his sights high, and with his winnings, he bought a farm in Estacada, Oregon, with his brother and started raising greyhounds.

“We had made connections with dog owners and were able to lease enough dogs to get a contract with MKC [Multnomah Kennel Club] and then, eventually, received contracts to run at Colorado Springs in the Fall and Miami Beach, then Sanford Orlando in the Winter.”

Steve and his brother were becoming quite successful in the greyhound racing industry. Before you knew it, they had earned the leading kennel and sire at Multnomah Kennel Club (MKC) for a few years. It wasn’t too long before they had two kennels running at MKC. They ran their kennels for about 10 years before deciding to disband, but Steve continued to work in the industry.

“I continued to bet at Portland and would go out and train for other kennels during the fall and winter.”

Then, in 1990, Steve was hired as a track judge at the new Corpus Christi greyhound track in Texas. Steve was there for about a year before going back to his roots of betting on the greyhounds. Steve was a professional handicapper till 2000, where his story begins with us.

“I became a bit burned out on gambling in 2000 and was hired here, where I have been ever since.”

At Greyhound Channel, Steve runs our Track of the Week Handicapping Contest and is a wealth of information on greyhound and horse racing for the staff. As we mentioned before, he writes for our blog bi-weekly, typically answering handicapping questions submitted by customers. He also swings by the studio with his greyhound picks for the day on our Catch the Action podcast.

Many of us, here at Greyhound Channel, didn’t know much about Steve’s greyhound racing history, knowing only a few tidbits here and there. He is modest and doesn’t like to go on about himself so we appreciate him chatting with us, allowing you to get to know him better. If you’d like to learn more from Steve, don’t forget to check out his This Week with The Professor blog posts and listen to him on our Catch the Action podcast.

This Week With The Professor: Q and A

Today, The Professor answers a question submitted by David L. He said, “My question is about post parade behavior. I usually ignore it, but should I? I’ve seen dogs who totally refuse to walk to the starting box and must be carried. I’ve seen a dog that would leap 6 feet in the air several times as he was led to the box. It didn’t seem to affect their performance. Is there a behavior that does affect performance. Wagering online, we often cannot even see the post parade.”

Excellent question. The simple answer is no, it is not important to see the post parade. The greyhounds will act the same every time they are paraded, almost without exception. I suppose if you would want to take the time to watch every dog, every time they are paraded, you might see some difference that would matter, but that rare occurrence is not worth the time and effort. If you happen to see a greyhound with a slight limp, you might want to worry, but even that could just be because of a nick in the pad, that would not affect his running. Some dogs pull hard, some don’t and, like you mentioned, some may leap into the air. There was a greyhound that ran at Multnomah in the late 70’s or early 80’s named Bobby Go, who would leap every few steps. He was a top flight greyhound, so it obviously had no effect on his performance.

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This is another major difference between handicapping greyhounds and thoroughbreds. The post parade is important in thoroughbred racing as the way the horse is moving, whether or not he or she is “washed out” or sweating, if not normal for that horse, can be a bad signal. Also, thoroughbreds may have wraps on their legs, which can be a sign of being unsound, especially if the wraps are on the front legs. this kind of information can be useful, and can generally be found on thoroughbred’s past performance lines.

Thank you for the question, David L!

Do you have a question for The Professor? Leave a comment below and you could receive a $2 wagering credit to your Greyhound Channel account if your question is featured! Tune into our podcast, Catch the Action with Greyhound Channel, for news and more greyt tips from The Professor.

This Week With The Professor:

Today, The Professor covers lure issues during a race to answer a question submitted by David L. He also explains how unofficial schooling can play a part.

David L. asked, “After seeing the lure get shut down early on the second turn of an 820 yard race at Southland, I got to wondering how this affects the dogs that run these marathon races? With the brakes slammed on the lure, some dogs stopped while others kept on racing. Not only does this mean a dog won’t have a line in the program, they won’t earn any purse money, and their racing routine has been messed with. Are these dogs at a disadvantage when running their next race? Will they be raced again soon so their is not a two week space between official races? Seems to me it’s only fair to the handicappers that there be a line in the program saying the race was declared a “no race” so the bettor knows the dog hasn’t been on vacation.”

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I have seen this happen numerous times in my 40+ years of watching greyhound races. The answer is a definite maybe. I say that because each greyhound is different and they will react in different ways to this. Some may become leery of getting too close to the lure the next time they run, anticipating a stoppage; others may not react at all. Unfortunately, there is really no way to tell. I know that the racing secretary will attempt to run the race again as soon as possible, so that the kennel owner is not punished for an incident out of their control.

This gives me a chance to discuss “unofficial or morning schooling.” All tracks offer morning schooling on the track, usually twice a week. The trainers have the opportunity to run any of the dogs they choose at any distance, either by “hand schooling” or regular box schooling at any distance they wish. This is an invaluable tool for the trainers to get their animals in shape, if they have been off because of injury or illness and they need to run short to get back into shape. They may also want to give a greyhound who has been getting into a lot of trouble, what is called a “front end,” or let the greyhound run by themselves to get their confidence back up. In a case like the one that David cites, the trainer may want to take the dog out and run him around the track once, chasing the lure so the dog knows the lure will not stop. This schooling is open to the public, but you will have to get there early as it usually begins around 6 am.

As far as the “no race” being listed on the program, that is a good idea and maybe something like that could be incorporated in the program, but that would be up to the tracks to make that decision.

Thank you, David L., for the greyt question!

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Do you have a question for The Professor? Leave a comment below and you could receive a $2 wagering credit to your Greyhound Channel account if your question is featured! Tune into our podcast, Catch the Action with Greyhound Channel, for news and more greyt tips from The Professor.

Blog Spotlight: Winner (By Bonus Bandit)

 

Woof! Hey guys, it’s me again! That’s right, your good ol’ pal, Bandit! Greyhound Channel mentioned that they were doing a special article on my new, adopted brother, Winner. Being his bro and all, I figured, “Who knows him more than me?” so I convinced Greyhound Channel to let me take the lead on the leash again and do the honors of writing about one of my favorite pups! Look at this lug, isn’t he cute?

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Winner dressed up for Halloween.

Alright, so a little about Winner. Let’s start with before he found his way to my home. Winner raced by the name TF Winner and is a son from Rythmless and KB’s Shady Lady. He was your typical greyhound racer – Nothing amazing (I can say that because I’m his brother), but not terrible either. Winner started out at Ebro in July of 2013 before heading to Gulf in October of 2013, where he spent most of his racing career. With the closure of Gulf Greyhound Park at the end of 2015, Winner ran a couple races at Caliente before taking on retirement life. This is where it gets exciting! My tail starts wagging just thinking about it!

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Winner squirrel watching.

Through Greyhound Pet Adoption Northwest (GPA Northwest), Winner kicked off retirement life and his quest to find his forever home. GPA Northwest does this really cool thing where their pups are fostered with families so that they can understand each hound’s personality. As the saying goes, every dog has its day and that day had arrived for Winner. My family had decided to foster and Winner ended up at our home! I adore my new brother and all, but I won’t lie, it wasn’t all sunshine, roses, and puppy dog tails at first. In the beginning, naturally, I was a little jealous… OK, a lot jealous! I mean, here was this cool, new pup with a cool racing history (unlike me) and he was getting all this attention. Inc didn’t help either. Always loving everyone, he was instantly buddies with Winner so I may have felt a little left out.

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Winner and Inc, two peas in a pod!

As the days passed, though, I too began to see how special Winner was. Next thing I knew, he had raced his way into my heart and was there to stay. I mean, what’s not to like? Winner is a super sweet, all-around great pup, who also happens to put up with my crazy antics. Once I realized this, I knew I had to find a way for him to stay. No way was he leaving me and Inc. We were the three amigos now! Woof! Well, turns out my whole family felt the same way because I received the BEST Holiday gift on December 5th. Winner was officially added to the family!

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Winner, me, and Inc – The Three Amigos.

It’s all history from there. Winner hasn’t been in our family very long, but boy do we have fun! We enjoy racing each other in the back yard and Inc and Winner love to stare down squirrels. Sometimes I think those squirrels end up in our tree just to torture those two. Boy, it gets me howling just thinking about it. Anyway, I’m so glad that I was able to bark at you guys again and I hope you enjoyed learning more about my brother, Winner. Till next time!

Always,

Bandit – Woof!

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This Week With The Professor: Weather and Distance

Today, we will answer two questions sent to us by Jeff.

Jeff asked, “Do dramatic changes in weather, particularly bitter cold, affect a dog’s performance?”

I have found that cold weather does not make a difference when attempting to handicap a greyhound’s performance. I trained dogs in Colorado on a couple of occasions and did not see any difference in the performance when running in cold weather. The weather can be a huge factor in rainy weather, however. Many times the rail can be puddled up because the bank of the track can cause the water to drain to the rail. As in thoroughbred racing, some greyhounds do not react well to running in mud and some do not mind. The only way to find that out is to go back and find their form on a wet track. Speed usually does better in the mud, as they do not get mud in their faces or body. The general accepted rule of thumb is to give the wide running, larger, speed dogs an advantage on a muddy track.

Jeff then asked, “What things do you consider when handicapping a race with runners coming off of longer/shorter distances in their most recent competition?”

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There are a few things to consider here. If a greyhound is running a distance race after sprinting, there are two things to keep in mind. If it is the first ever try at the middle distance from sprinting (and no schooling race), I would be very hesitant to play that greyhound. The dog is used to a certain look and can become confused and get into trouble by hesitating, if only slightly. On the other hand, if the dog has been sprinting and is returning to the middle distance, that would be a plus for me as the dog is well rested and should break sharply and run their best race.

If a dog is going to sprints from middle distance, you can expect that the dog will not show as much early speed as they did in distance because they are used to running longer, and they are now running against dogs that are faster early. My theory was to always use these type of dogs on the bottom of the ticket and not key them, as I usually like to key dogs who are going to be on or near the lead. One caveat would be a top sprinter who tried the longer races a few times and is now returning to their favorite distance. This could be a positive, as the hound may have a little more bottom than he would have had in the past.

Thank you for the questions, Jeff! I hope this helps.

Do you have a question for The Professor? Leave a comment below and you could receive a $2 wagering credit to your Greyhound Channel account if your question is featured! Tune into our podcast, Catch the Action with Greyhound Channel, for news and more greyt tips from The Professor.

2016: A Year In Review

As we look ahead to 2017, we also look back at memorable moments from 2016. Let’s take a journey through those greyt moments in greyhound racing and at Greyhound Channel as we reflect on 2016.

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We kicked off 2016, here at Greyhound Channel, with our Contest of Champions. This was a special handicapping contest, revolving around our Track of the Week, that included all the “champions” of our handicapping contest from 2015. Mark P. won crowning him as our handicapping champion for 2015.

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The All-America Team for 2015 was announced early in the year. Husker Magic of Abernathy Kennel was made captain of the following members: Flying Fired up (Lester Raines Kennel), Need My Moneynow (Sharon Williams), B’s Headliner (Everett Kennel), Seldom Told (Sharon Williams), Boc’s Hank Jr. (Boeckenstedt Kennel), Highlyclassified (John Farmer Kennel), and Storm Control (B & B Racing).

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Husker Magic and Highlyclassified were awarded the 2015 Rural Rube and Flashy Sir awards.

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The National Greyhound Association (NGA) Spring Meet took place in April. We sponsored one of the stakes races and Donald R. Ryan was awarded the NGA 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award.

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We started our bi-weekly Catch the Action Podcast at the end of April and recently recorded our eighteenth episode. Our Podcast covers everything from greyhound racing and special horse racing events to Greyhound Channel promotions. You can find future podcast episodes here.

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In May, we saw Derby Lane’s Darling Diva hit her 100th career win and said goodbye to the blonde bombshell when she retired on June 22nd. Husker Magic finished her racing career with 105 wins out of 167 starts.

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Gary Guccione retired from the NGA after 45 wonderful years.

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We watched in awe as the 2016 Summer Olympics took place in August. We also had fun with the creativity of the #GreyhoundOlympics, with notable events in Synchronized Snoozing, Roaching, and Squirrel Watching.

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The Women of Greyhound Racing held their yearly fall auction in support of breast cancer awareness. This year’s proceeds of $12,000 were donated to the Lee Ann Foundation in Wheeling, West Virginia.

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October 1st held Southland Greyhound Park’s $1.2 million Festival of Stakes consisting of nine stakes in one day. Members of Greyhound Channel visited for the day to hand out merchandise, live tweet the whole event, and get in on the greyhound racing action. We gave away tickets to the event and were joined by two of our customers, David L. and Eddie B. Craigie Hey You won the Crittenden Super Sprint, Bar Gin won the Arkansas Bred Juvenile, Super C Redman won our sponsored race: the Barry Baldwin Juvenile, Oaks Maddy won the Arkansas Bred Sprint, Oshkosh Kid won the Ness Sechrest Middle Distance, VJ Hit The Board won the Ansel Styles Jr. Marathon, PJ Fully Loaded won the Glen Fenter Super Marathon, Flying Bosnian won the Darby Henry Female Sprint, and Boc’s Doubleshot won the Darby Henry Male Sprint.

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The NGA Fall Meet took place in October. We sponsored one of the races and participated in the raffle for the NGA Pup Giveaway. Howard Korman of Jacksonville, FL won the pup donated by Bob Hardison and Dennis Mleynek. Jan Vasquez of Buffalo, New York won the pup donated by David and Brenda Petzold. Winner of the third pup, donated by Monte Jacobs, was Ronald Crispino of Delray Beach, FL.

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Valley Race Park began a new racing season in November for the 2016/2017 season, after the track had only two limited live meets in 2011 and 2013 during the last seven years. It was also announced that racing would return at Gulf Greyhound Park for the 2017/2018 season and Gulf Coast Racing would have greyhound racing for the 2018/2019 season.

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Rounding out the year, we added a special new member to our Greyhound Channel family, Winner. He has fit right in and we have all enjoyed getting to know his personality. Bandit and Inc are over the moon to have another brother to race around the yard with.

2016 was an eventful year, full of moments that we were happy to share with you. We would like to thank all of our wonderful readers and customers. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to do what we love. We hope you have a wonderful 2017.

This Week With The Professor: Questions Answered

Today, The Professor will attempt to answer questions sent to us by David L. and Steve M.

Let’s start with David L. He asks,”Have any tips on handicapping 9 dog races at Southland or 6 dog races in Ireland? I’m so used to 8 and I prefer a field of 8. I don’t like 9 simply because of fewer lines in the program. Although I realized taking the time to research deeper I could find some values. I’ve always felt that with a smaller field, closers have a better chance.”

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I have had a lot of experience in handicapping nine dog races, as my greyhound racing experiences began at Multnomah Kennel Club in Oregon, which ran nine dog races for many years. When you add an extra dog in the mix going to the first turn, there are bound to be more jams and trouble, so we need to find either the top early speed or a greyhound who will be able to take advantage and benefit if the early speed gets jammed up. This is usually a dog who runs the rail and can benefit on the turn. My method was picking the top speed and using that for the key. You can only determine that by watching many races and comparing speed. Southland is not as speed oriented, as the sprint is longer than most, but the theory still works. Post position is also more important because of the possible jamming, so the #1 and the #9 posts become more valuable. The advantage to nine dog races is that the payouts are always higher, as the average bettor cannot cover as many spots in the exotics; therefore, there are fewer winning tickets.

As far as the six dog races at Ireland, I have no experience wagering on those tracks, so my knowledge is limited. I do know that there is less trouble, as the dogs are seeded by their running style (rail runners put on the inside, wide runners put on the outside) and therefore smaller payouts are the result.

Now a question from Steve M. He asks, “If you could only choose one, what do you consider to be your most powerful handicapping tool: form, class, speed, early speed, post position, or something else.”

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It has been my experience that early speed is the most important thing to decipher when handicapping a greyhound race. If you can figure out who is going to be in the lead coming out of the first turn, you are way ahead of the game. Just check out the charts and you will see that the leader runs in the top two 75% of the time. I always say “speed kills.” My theory is to key the speed and do not throw out the late speed. I would say class is the next important thing, as this ties in with speed, as a hound who cannot make the lead in one grade, may be able to when they drop in grade. Form is important, but unless the dog shows a rapid decline in performance, I usually assume that the dog is just going through a slump and can recover quickly. Hope that helps.

Thank you David L. and Steve M. for such greyt questions and feedback! Do you have a question for The Professor? Leave a comment below and you could receive a $2 wagering credit to your Greyhound Channel account if your question is featured! Tune into our podcast, Catch the Action with Greyhound Channel, for news and more greyt tips from The Professor.

 

Blog Spotlight: A Letter From Bonus Bandit

Woof woof!

Hi, fellow friends! It’s me, Bonus Bandit! Can you believe it? It took quite some persuading, but after lots of puppy-eyed faces and promises to not chew my family’s socks for awhile, I finally got Greyhound Channel to let me take over their blog for the day! Woof! Many of you know that I have my own promotions with Greyhound Channel and they let me have a Twitter, too. Now, I’m writing my very own blog post! Soon, I will have my paws in everything at Greyhound Channel. You wait and see. Alright, there is so much I’d love to share with you, but let’s move on to what I came here for – to fill you in on my Greyt Gifts Giveaway promotion!

Last year, Greyhound Channel let me take the reins to bring you fun gifts for my Greyt Gifts Giveaway and I am so excited to be back for another round! For those of you who have not participated in my Greyt Gifts Giveaway, you can still take advantage of this barktacular promotion for its remaining days.

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I kicked off this year’s Greyt Gifts on December 1st, giving you 24 days of promotions and giveaways. Head over to my Twitter, Greyhound Channel’s Twitter or Facebook, or the Greyt Gifts page on Greyhound Channel’s Contest Site to view that day’s gift. If my gift for the day includes a promotional code, don’t forget to apply it to your wagering account by entering the code at Greyhound Channel.

You all have been so greyt to me, playing my Fetch 5 and Play Ball promotions every week. It is a super treat to have nearly a month long promotion where I get to take the lead on the leash and treat you guys to something fun every day! Nothing makes me happier than giving gifts. Well, except maybe running loops in the backyard. Boy does that just get my tail wagging! Speaking of my tail, what is the deal with that? Sometimes I see it, sometimes I don’t… And, I can never catch it! So frustrating. What was I saying again? Oh yeah, besides racing in the backyard, I really love what I do here. It has been an amazing four years working with my Greyhound Channel family and all of you.

Alright, I know you’re probably itching for today’s gift. For the seventeenth day of my Greyt Gifts, I am giving away $2 wagers to anyone who enters the promotional code JINGLE17 today, December 17th. All that I ask for in return is that you tell Greyhound Channel how much you adore me. I mean let’s face it, I am pretty awesome. Maybe then, they’ll let me bark (Er.. I mean talk) at you guys more often! Sound like a deal? OK, enjoy your free wager!

Always,

Bonus Bandit – Woof!

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Questions!

 

Today we will attempt to answer questions sent to us be David L. and Hank P.:

David L. asks,

“Has there ever been an error when two greyhounds were mixed up in a kennel before the races?

Also, “how many races must a Grade D dog finish 5th or higher before they are graded off?”

First question: Yes there have been instances, though rare, of the wrong greyhound running in a race, or the wrong race blanket being put on a greyhound. In these cases, the error was caught and the race declared a no race. There are safeguards in place to prevent this from happening. Before a greyhound may race, a Bertillon card is completed by the paddock judge, with the color, markings and the ear tattoos recorded on the card. When the greyhound is brought out to race from the lock out kennel, the dog is checked to make sure that everything matches the card. The leadout is then given the racing blanket to put on the dog. Sometimes the tattoos are faded and difficult to read and a mistake could be made, but it is rare.

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Second question: The grading systems are different at every track, so this is a tough one to answer. Some tracks have grade E, so that would be the grade off grade. As a rule of thumb, a greyhound must finish worse than fourth four times before they are graded off. At some tracks, these greyhounds may re-qualify after a period of time. In Grade M, a greyhound will usually have to run worse than fourth six times before being disqualified.

Hank P asks: “Do kennels make any special changes for greyhounds in stakes races, especially for those who are already A or AA grade, to increase their speed and stamina even more?

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The answer to this is a bit complicated. Having trained a kennel of greyhounds myself, the goal of the trainer is to have their greyhounds running at their best at all times. This being said, if you know a stakes race is coming up, you may give the dog a little more rest between starts, or if the distance is changing, give them a start at the new distance, You may take them for a walk the day of the race, but basically just keep the same routine, because if the dog has made the final, he or she is obviously sharp and you do not want to do anything to throw them off.

 

Thank you, David L. and Hank P. for the questions and feedback.

 

Do you have a question for The Professor? Leave a comment below and you could receive a $2 wagering credit to your Greyhound Channel account if your question is featured! Tune into our podcast, Catch the Action with Greyhound Channel, for news and more greyt tips from The Professor.

 

Blog Spotlight: Valley Race Park

Thanksgiving kickstarted the Holiday season with good food, shopping, and lots of greyhound racing. Among the racing excitement, we saw two Thanksgiving stakes at Derby Lane and bestbet, the championship race of the WVGOBA Sprint at Wheeling Island, and round one of the Naples Ft. Meyers’ New Sensations Puppy Classic. But, possibly, the most exciting greyhound racing event Thanksgiving weekend was the return of live racing at Valley Race Park in Harlingen, Texas. Friday, November 25th, started the 2016/2017 season at Valley Race Park.

During the last seven years, Valley Race Park ran two limited live meets in 2011 and 2013. Besides those two meets, Valley Race park ran on simulcast racing and special events. In April of this year, it was announced that Valley Race Park would return again with live greyhound racing. Their 2016/2017 season will run through February 4th, 2017. Live greyhound racing, at Valley Race Park, currently takes place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday each week, with Wednesday being added into the mix, beginning December 28th, for four days of live greyhound racing. That totals to 36 race dates, each beginning at 8 PM EST.

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With a little over a week into their season, there has been an exciting buzz around Valley Race Park here at Greyhound Channel. With live greyhound racing ending at Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque, Texas, last year, it is nice to have greyhound racing back in Texas. When the season ends, it is unclear as to when we will see greyhound racing at Valley Race Park again, but live racing will continue in Texas as Gulf Greyhound Park will pickup greyhound racing for the 2017/2018 season.

In a time when greyhound racing rarely returns to a track once it has left, it is greyt to see Texas bringing the sport back to these fantastic tracks. We look forward to enjoying the rest of the greyhound racing season at Valley Race Park, as well as the return of live greyhound racing at Gulf Greyhound Park next year.