Florida Greyhound Racing

"Going to the dogs" is now respectable entertainment.

Greyhound dogs during a race at a Fort Myers racetrack.
© Dennis Macdonald, Photographer/Getty Images

“Going to the dogs” has been a Florida tradition for as far back as I can remember. Chances are when someone says they’re “going to the dogs,” it may conjure up an image of smoke-filled rooms and shifty-looking characters with cigars hanging out of their mouths, but the sport has shaken off its dusty old image. Today, “a night at the dogs” provides an enjoyable evening’s entertainment to a new kind of clientele that enjoy plush restaurants, corporate entertainment facilities featuring private boxes and clean, well run bars.

Greyhounds have been around for thousands of years. They were bred to hunt by outrunning their prey. They were not intended to be solitary hunters, but to work with other dogs. Greyhounds can reach 45 mph when they run, hitting top speed within 30 feet and averaging 30 mph for distances up to one mile, so racing has kept that aspect of their inbred personality intact.

At the track, Greyhounds bound out of a starting gate and run after a mechanized rabbit. The first dog over the finish line wins. It’s that simple, but if you’ve never been to a Greyhound racing facility, placing a bet might be intimidating. It doesn’t have to be. Learning about Greyhound racing and how to place a bet is really very easy. Just remember these easy hints and steps:

  • Learn the racing rules. How to read the program, how to read your ticket, ticket abbreviations and more.
  • Learn dog racing jargon. Knowing exactly what a Quinella, an Exacta or a Trifecta is will increase your odds of wagering successfully.
  • Some Greyhound tracks have added poker rooms to their clubhouses and most offer simulcasting which allows you to wager on races at other tracks. (By the way, simulcasts are not limited to other dog track racing. Depending on the season, you may be able to wager on horse racing, Jai-Alai and harness racing.)
  • Before you go to the window, write down your selections and the amount you want to bet. Have your money in hand.


  • Tell the clerk which track you desire to bet.
  • Tell the clerk the race number you desire to bet.
  • Tell the clerk the dollar amount and type of bet.
  • Tell the clerk the blanket numbers you desire to bet.
  • Always check your ticket(s) before leaving the teller window to make sure the track, bet, race number and blanket selections are correct. Tickets cannot be changed or canceled after leaving the teller window.

Remember that the track wants you to have fun and win lots of money. If you have any questions, be sure to ask – staff members are always willing to help.

Florida Greyhound track locations: