The Woodlands (race track)

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The Woodlands
Sign for the track in 2009
Location Kansas City, Kansas
Coordinates 39°08′55″N 94°47′50″W / 39.1485°N 94.7972°W / 39.1485; -94.7972Coordinates: 39°08′55″N 94°47′50″W / 39.1485°N 94.7972°W / 39.1485; -94.7972
Owned by Phil Ruffin
Date opened 1989
Course type Harness Racing
Notable races Cane Pace
Official website

The Woodlands was a greyhound racing (and later horse racing) track at 9700 Leavenworth Road, Kansas City, Kansas, from 1989 until 2008.


In 1986 Kansas voters permitted parimutuel betting.

The track opened in 1989 with considerable expectation with Kansas claiming it was the home of greyhounds with the National Greyhound Association operating in Abilene, Kansas which is also the location for the National Greyhound Hall of Fame.[1] It was the first legal gambling outlet in the Kansas City metro area since the 1930s. However attendance spiked the second year with 1.7 million in 1990 and fell to less than 400,000 by 2000 as the track was subject to a series of scandals and competitive pressure.

In 1993 Missouri voters approved riverboat casinos and the boat casinos appeared on the Missouri side competing for the gambling market

In 1995 Jorge Anthony Hughes, operator of Hughes Kennels at the track, was charged with selling illegal steroids at the track. Further revelations showed the track was not adequately testing or monitoring for steroid use.[2] In 1996 charges were made that employees were accepting illegal out of state bets from Florida.

It went into bankruptcy in 1996.[3]

William M. Grace brought the track out of bankruptcy in 1998 by holding 85 percent of its mortgage.

However the problems continued. In 2002 the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission said that employees had stolen $200,000. Further, Dick Boushka, one of the original owners, was indicted in 2002 that he had falsified documents to get the $19 million in loans from Wichita banks to initially open the track.[4]

The track attempted unsuccessfully to get permission to operate slot machines.[5] Governor Bill Graves and Kathleen Sebelius both endorsed the proposal and the Wyandotte County government attempted to implement it by local law and was passed both times. The track became in a dispute over how much money they could keep from the slot machines with the Kansas Lottery. Attempts have been made to try to amend the bill which allows slots at the track but has been mainly ignored by leadership in the Kansas legislature.[6]

An amendment to a proposed law passed on April 2, 2013 which once again prohibits slot machines at track facilities.

Grace died in 2005 and his son Howard T. Grace closed the course effective August 24, 2008.[7]

Another bill to allow 2,800 slot machines at the track passed the Kansas Senate in May 2015. Two months later, Phil Ruffin, owner of two other defunct tracks in Kansas, purchased the Woodlands.[8]


  1. ^ History of Greyhound Racing in Kansas
  2. ^ History of Greyhound Racing in Kansas
  3. ^ History of Greyhound Racing in Kansas
  4. ^ History of Greyhound Racing in Kansas
  5. ^ Alm, Rick. "Woodlands race track majority owner dies at 69.(Knight Ridder Newspapers)." Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. 2004. Retrieved January 28, 2009 from HighBeam Research:
  6. ^ History of Greyhound Racing in Kansas
  7. ^ The Woodlands Press Release - July 22, 2008
  8. ^ Tom Smith (July 17, 2015). "Wichita casino owner buys Woodlands racetrack in Kansas City, Kan.". Kansas City Star. Retrieved 2015-07-17. 

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