Turfside Dining Room
Returning champ Chico is top dog in Fort Erie wiener dog races
Hot weather and fun, family-friendly activities made Fort Erie Race Track’s 3rd annual Wiener Dog Races a certified success. Not even the downpouring rain could dampen the contestants and spectator's spirits.
The day started off just as busy as it ended, with many customers showing up early in the afternoon. Horse racing started at 1:00 p.m., and the Wiener Dog races began after the last horse race, around 4:30 p.m. There were eight races on the card for both events, although wagering was only permitted for horse racing. Twenty special market vendors and six food trucks were brought in and lined up next to the paddock for the event as entertainment for visitors and families that were looking to shop in between the races.
By the time 4:30 p.m. rolled around, excitement was buzzing in the air. The sky had turned dark and raindrops could be felt, which turned into a heavy downpour by the time the contestants reached the track. The obstacle did not deter the dogs, who made it through each race as the audience watched under cover of the grandstand. The staff handled the situation with grace, ensuring that every dog had a chance to race. The eighth race was composed of the top two winners from the first six qualifying heats. In the end, the top dogs to win in the final was Chico in first place, followed by Jane of Arc, and Spanky for 3rd.
Chico, owned by Danny Picconi and Alejandro Rodriguez, is a five-year-old wiener dog. He won the last Wiener Dog Races in 2019, making this his second overall win at the Fort Erie Race Track. This was his second race of the year, and also his first win after competing at Grand River Raceway days before Fort Erie's races.
“We choose to register him in races because it’s fun. We don’t really have a training method for him, he’s a very energetic dog and he loves to run fast,’ said Picconi when asked about why they participate in dog races.
“We’re also really careful with his diet. We take him on lots of walks and that helps to keep him in top shape,” added Rodriguez.
The event was sponsored by The Pet Food Outlet, who generously donated the prizes, as well as goody bags for all dog participants, as well as Dave McMahon’s Dog Training Academy, who donated the trophies and made the award presentations to the winners.
Fort Erie Race Track will be hosting basset hound races on Sunday, Aug. 14. Registration is now open for basset hound participants and can be found at www.forterieracing.com. This friendly non-wagering event is free for participants and spectators.
By Kamryn Fitzgerald, for Fort Erie Race Track