Victoryland Dog Track set to reopen Friday

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

SHORTER, AL (WSFA) - For the 60 Greyhound dogs at Troy Rhodes' kennel in Shorter, Alabama, Friday night can't come soon enough.

"We're just really glad we can go back to racing," says Rhodes.

He's a kennel owner and dog trainer at Victoryland.

"Financially, it has been a disaster," he says.

According to Rhodes, the past two months have been tough with the dog track closed--especially shelling out $3, 000 a week to care for dogs that weren't bringing in money.

"If they had not told us two weeks ago we were going to race now, I would have been out of the industry. I'm pushing it to wait this long."

There's been no live racing at Victoryland for weeks.

Victoryland operators aired simulcasts of races in other states since re-opening the gaming center.

But Racing Director Jim Gartland says without live races, kennel owners aren't the only ones taking a hit.

"We did whatever we could to try to stop the bleeding, but any business that shuts down for that period of time is going to suffer."

And amidst the excitement of re-opening, there's a bit of uncertainty.

A Macon County judge is expected to rule on whether to extend the temporary restraining order keeping the Governor's task force from raiding Victoryland.

"We would not have reopened and done all the things we've done if we didn't feel confident we were going to be ok," adds Gartland.

And while Rhodes says he doesn't know what will happen in court, he does know one thing about the six dogs he plans to race Friday night.

"If my Greyhounds do not perform, I do not get paid. I hope I have six winners."

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