Pari-Mutuel wagering was legalized by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1934. Wonderland Greyhound Park opened the following year and has offered quality greyhound racing continuously for the past 70 years before closing it's doors on August 19, 2010 following the passing of the Massachusetts Greyhound Protection Act. Constructed on the site of the old Wonderland Amusement Park in Revere, the site had been converted from an amusement park to a bicycle track at the turn of the century.
Opening night, June 12,1935, an estimated 5,000 patrons watched Pansy Walker win the first-ever greyhound race, and Kop capture the inaugural- $58,462 was wagered for the evening. The sport caught on instantly. On July 21st, 17 performances later, the mutuel handle topped $100,000, never to drop lower during the initial 100 night season.
For many years, only 100 Live racing performances were offered seasonally during the summer months. At the conclusion of Wonderland's meeting, most of the kennels and greyhounds would migrate to various Florida tracks for the winter. Eventually, racing was offered year-round, seven nights a week, 361 performances. Over seven miles of underground piping heated the track during the cold, wet winter months, allowing racing to continue uninterrupted.
During Wonderlands 70-year existence, many of the sport's star athletes have graced our oval, none more celebrated than the great Rural Rube. "The Rube" dominated the 1939 racing season, winning 19 times, and setting a world record of 31.00 flat for the 5/16ths mile. On June 15,1939, 1,500 race fans and dignitaries paid to have dinner honoring the canine Superstar at the Copley Plaza in Boston. Seated at the head of the table with owner R.B. "Bud" Carrell, greyhound racing's Babe Ruth was presented a gold collar after devouring a steak. On August 30,1940, the legendary Rural Rube, who made greyhound racing in Massachusetts, retired to a standing ovation as he was paraded around the track, then presented a gold medal.
Wonderland Greyhound Park annually hosted the sports star athletes during two of our industry's premier open stake events-The Grady Memorial Sprint and the Wonderland Derby. The National Greyhound Review describes the Derby as "The most prestigious middle distance stake in the country, you'll be hard pressed to find any one more respected."
Wonderland has featured more All-American greyhounds than any other track in the country. 35 All-American recipients have competed at the Revere oval, including 18 Derby Champions.
Million dollar handles have been recorded by Wonderland on 4 separate occasions
A dozen experts comprised of Management, Kennel Owners and fans named Wonderland's All-Time "Dream-Team" as part of the 50th Anniversary festivities. The results read like who's who of greyhound racing: