Cashing in on those rare events is not enough for track operators. Promotional gimmicks such as "Doggy Dinner Theater" and races with dogs named for celebrities have not worked, said Havenick, the Miami track owner.

Reducing the number of races might help make them special events again, he suggested.

The death of dog racing would be the end of "a beautiful show," said Duke Adkinson, a longtime fan who came to Flagler — now part of Magic City Casino — with his preteen grandson Dillon to instill in him the love for the races.

"Everyone who has not seen it live needs to come at least once if they like greyhounds," Adkinson said, surrounded by empty seats and aging faces.