Wonderland Greyhound park, a greyhound racing institution in Revere, Massachusetts for more than 70 years, will be torn down to make room for another business on the 38-acre site, the Boston Globe reported.
The track, grandstands and clubhouse will be razed, officials said. Wonderland’s owners, CBW Lending, are hoping to sell the property, which is located on prime real estate on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Blue Line.
The greyhound track was constructed on the site of the old Wonderland Amusement Park, which had been converted to a bicycle track at the beginning of the 20th century. It was coverted to a dog track after pari-mutuel wagering was legalized by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1934.
During its glory days, Wonderland employed hundreds of people and sometimes grossed more than $1 million in bets, per the Globe.
On the track’s opening night in 1935, about 5,000 patrons watched Pansy Walker win the first-ever greyhound race. More than $58,000 was wagered for the evening. After several weeks, the mutuel handle topped $100,000, and it never dropped lower during the first season.
Wonderland enjoyed a 100-race season each summer, after which most of the kennel owners would take their dogs south to Florida to compete during the winter months.
The track featured more All-American greyhounds than any other track in the country, 35, and 18 Derby Champions.
Its biggest star was Rural Rube, who won 19 times during the 1939 racing season and set a world record by running five-sixteenths of a mile in 31 seconds.
In June of 1939, 1,500 people paid to attend a dinner honoring Rural Rube at Copley Plaza in Boston. At the dinner, the dog was presented with a gold collar and fed a steak.
Rural Rube retired in August of that year after he was awarded a gold medal and paraded around the track.
The last live race was run at Wonderland in 2009 after Massachusetts voters voted to ban greyhound racing starting in 2010, although simulcast wagering continued until the track closed for good.
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