By Erin Siegal
I’d never really known a galgo, or greyhound. To me, they were simply those weirdly skinny creatures in the NYC dog runs that looked like yawning alligators when panting, so rail-thin that they practically disappeared unless they turned sideways.
Well, let’s just say that I think Dreamboat’s name is pretty accurate.
In Tijuana, Mexico, the Caliente racetrack is famous. In the city’s heyday, high-end thoroughbreds charged past glamorous crowds of onlookers; photos of the horses still adorn the walls in the casino’s basement administrative offices. Today, however, a different kind of animal bursts from the starting gates each day: American greyhounds.
Naim Lejud, the track manager, told me that Caliente’s kennels hold more than 700 galgos, or greyhounds. The majority of dogs race multiple times per week; races are held daily. Every single dog, Lejud says, has been imported from the United States. Most hail from Abilene, Kansas, home of the National Greyhound Association. Caliente is what’s known as a “last stop” track: the place where slow, aging, or otherwise unwanted dogs are brought for their final hurrahs.
In the United States, greyhound racing is controversial. Over the past five years the industry’s demise has been expedited as more and more states outlaw the practice. Today, dog tracks operate in just seven states. The Tijuana track is located a few miles south of California, where greyhound racing is banned. Despite its location, the Tijuana track is considered part of the American racing circuit.