PROFILE: J. Homer Ellis was born in Wolcott, Indiana and was the Illinois distributor for Cadillac and LaSalle automobiles until he became interested in the greyhound industry. He died suddenly on December 17, 1937 at the age of 51 years.
HISTORY: In 1925, Ellis and three associates opened the Six Mile Creek Kennel Club in Tampa and attracted about 20 kennels from O.P Smith’s organization. He then opened the Thornton Coursing club in 1926 at Homewood, Illinois, followed by the Franklin Kennel Club in Grove City, Ohio near Columbus. He became general manager of the West Florida Racing and Athletic Association and opened the Sulphur Springs Dog Track in Tampa in 1932. He was active in the Tampa community’s civic activities and cooperated with area merchants in endeavors to promote business during the Great Depression.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: One of the first greyhound track operators, Ellis opened a 5/16 mile oval racetrack in Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Arkansas, Indiana and West Virginia. The Sulphur Springs track was one of the most attractive racing plants in the country with Ellis providing improvements in service to the patrons each season. He installed such new inventions as the electric “Eye In The Sky” photographic record of race results and an electric odds board.