Dubuque Greyhound Race Track Will Be One of Few Left in the U.S.

Dec 4, 2018

The head of Iowa’s only greyhound racing track says he expects to be in business for at least a few more years, despite a decision by Florida voters last month to close all of that state’s dog tracks. Brain Carpenter, the general manager of Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque, 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,” says Carpenter.

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. At the end of 2020, the Dubuque facility will be one of just six greyhound tracks left in the U.S.

Jason Hess owns Xtrem Hess Racing kennel in Dubuque. He says he’ll breed fewer greyhounds right away.

“Because with less tracks operating, 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’ kennel is one of nine that breed dogs that race at the Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque. His dogs also race in Florida. 

During this River to River interview, Carpenter and Hess join host Ben Kieffer. Jim Gartland, executive director of the National Greyhound Association, also joins the conversation.

In the second half of the program, Bill Barnhart, an assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Iowa, and endurance athlete and author Steve Cannon, join the show to talk about the earthquake that shook Alaska on Friday.