LA MARQUE When it opened 20 years ago Saturday, Gulf Greyhound Park drew 8,000 customers who wagered $870,000. A few days later, what was then the largest greyhound track in the world had a record-setting 11,653 customers, and a month later, customers wagered about $1 million in one day.

By the end of 1993, its first full year of operation, average attendance at the track was 4,190 people a day. Visitors wagered $268.38 million that year, and more than 1,100 people worked at the track.

Twenty years later?

On average, fewer than 500 people come to the track each day, and the wagers on live and simulcast racing were about $35.4 million in 2011, according to Texas Racing Commission statistics. There are now about 195 mostly part-time employees.

As the track prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary this weekend, officials said they are committed to keeping the doors open as the track looks to a new future possibly with casino-style gambling.

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