How to Start Racing Greyhounds (And What You Can Expect to Make)

GET RACING

“…I said “I’ll take that pup.”  Well, to my surprise, it turned out to be a lot of fun! Nothing about the sport or the people I met was anything like what I had seen on TV or read in the press. I came from the world of celebrities and entertainment and I believed the Betty Whites and Doris Days of this world. I’m sorry to say my belief in them was shaken when I saw for myself racing Greyhounds being cared for better than most pets will ever be….”

– Un-credited

“…and I thought my pet whippet could really run! I couldn’t believe the excitement I felt when I saw “Magic” race.  It was such a rush to see her run and know that she’d be happy to see me after the race, even if she didn’t win….”

-Wendy Hamilton

EIGHT WAYS TO GET A JUMPSTART INTO GREYHOUND RACING

  • Read GlobalGreyhounds.com to learn about racing, breeding, health and adoption
  • Subscribe to the Greyhound Review, the monthly magazine distributed by the National Greyhound Association. Features track & breeding news, breeding reports, sire information and more!
  • Attend a National Greyhound Association Meet & Auction in Abilene, Kansas (April & October)
  • Visit a greyhound farm (Contact the GRA)
  • Visit a racing kennel at a racetrack (Contact the GRA)
  • If you are buying a pup, try to buy from the best available bloodlines. Check Greyhound-Data for the pedigree of the greyhound and if the bloodlines produce winners! Check the current Sire & Dam standings.
  • Become an active greyhound owner and take part in the careers of your racers by being educated and involved!
  • Join the GRA and support our efforts to promote responsible ownership and education of new members!

The Greyhound racing industry is composed of three basic segments:

  • The Greyhound Racetracks Each racetrack is licensed by the state racing commission to conduct pari-mutuel Greyhound racing in accordance with the rules set forth by the state racing commission. The racetrack does not own, breed, buy, sell or race any Greyhounds.
  • The Contract Kennel The kennels are contracted by the track to race Greyhounds. Each kennel agrees to provide a number of active Greyhounds, usually 30 to 50 in number, to race at the track. In return, the track provides kennel space on the grounds for the Greyhounds to be housed. The kennel receives purses based on a percentage of the mutuel handle and the performance of the Greyhounds. Some contract kennels own all of the Greyhounds they race, while others lease the bulk of their Greyhounds from other greyhound owners.
  • The Greyhound Owner The owners are either breeders, or they purchase Greyhounds from breeders. Some Greyhounds are bought as young pups, while others are bought when they are ready to race. The price of Greyhounds varies according to age and breeding. When Greyhounds are ready to race, they are then leased to a kennel who is contracted by the track. From this point on, the kennel is responsible for all expenses incurred for the caring of these Greyhounds and the kennel then pays the owner a percentage (usually 35 percent) of the purses the Greyhounds earn during their racing career at the track.

Decisions and Responsibilities of a Greyhound Owner

PURCHASING A PUPPY There are a multitude of breeders who offer their future racers for sale, and many advertise in The Greyhound Review. Prices vary widely from breeder to breeder and increases as the pup reaches maturity. An average price would be $500 to $1,500 per pup at 3 months of age for a well bred individual. It’s up to the buyer to “do his/her homework” to find out all possibilities about the seller and the puppy being sold. Ask for a list of persons the seller has sold Greyhounds to in the past and learn all you can about the quality of the sire and dam of the pup being considered for purchased. Contact these individuals by ordering a NGA Phone Directory from the NGA at (785) 263-4660.

BOARDING, RAISING AND TRAINING GREYHOUNDS ON THE FARM Many individuals who sell the Greyhound puppies will also raise and train them for prospective buyers for a  fee which usually ranges from $80 to $120 per month. If the puppy requires veterinary care other than the usual vaccinations and worming, an additional fee will be charged. If the pup must be sent to another farm to be raised and/or trained, again check for references of others who have dealt with these individuals.

OLDER OR TRACK-READY GREYHOUNDS At 12 to 14 months of age the pup has begun its training and already is beginning to show its future potential, or lack of it, to the breeder. Be very careful! If you are buying one of a litter, be sure that you pick your pup by random draw and do not allow the breeder to select one for you. Another way to purchase a pup at or near racing age is to attend the NGA Meet & Auction, held in the April and October. Here you will see puppies race against others of the same age in actual racing conditions. Again, before bidding, check the background of the breeders of the pups you are interested in buying. Have they sold pups at the auction before? How did they fare once they were sent to the racetrack? You can find past performance data for the majority of racetracks online; this includes Entries & Results.

PLACING THE PUP IN A TRACK RACING KENNEL  If you are to ensure that your pup races at a certain track, perhaps one near your home, talk to kennel owners who are contracted to race there and arrange the placement of your pup in advance. Most tracks require Greyhound owners to sign a lease to the kennel owner. Make sure that the lease provides for prompt payment of commissions (35 percent for regular purses and 50 percent for added money is a common practice, however, actual commission rates are subject to negotiation) and allows you the opportunity to terminate the lease if you are not satisfied. Also, the lease should allow you to participate in decisions about moving the Greyhound or care of the dog if injured or otherwise deemed unfit for competition. If you do not have a specific destination in mind for your racer before he goes to the racetracks, ask the breeder to help you place the pup (after you check their references) or contact the GRA for referrals for racing kennels.

GREYHOUND RACING EXPENSES

Price of Greyhound Puppy $500 to $40,000
NGA fees – Registration $30
Boarding $80 to $120 per month until pup is 17 months old (track-ready)
State Racing License $25 to $75

GREYHOUND RACING INCOME

Grade A Purse large track $300 to $4000
Grade A Purse medium track $100 to $300
Owners Commission of Purse 35%

GET INVOLVED

If you are interested in knowing more about greyhound ownership, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 We would be happy to assist you with information and contact details for:

You can be racing soon if you make the first step to involve yourself in this exciting sport!

  • Greyhound Breeders
  • Racing Kennels at Tracks
  • Greyhound Racetracks
  • State Racing Commissions & Licensing Departments
  • National Greyhound Association
  • References

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