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‘Joey’ the Wonder Wiener Dog returns, relishing a third visit to the wiener’s circle

July 13, 2011     E-mail this page to a friend!

Two-day showdown – 64 canines – at Hastings this weekend, plus a pair of $50K stakes races for equines

With his owner Nancy Green saying he’s not too old to cut the mustard, ‘Joey’ the wiener dog is returning to Hastings Racecourse this weekend with hopes of winning his third straight championship.

It’s the 3rd annual Wiener Dog competition with all 64 kennels having been filled as five heats will run between live horse racing Saturday and three heats on Sunday, setting up the eight survivors to dig in their paws for the championship showdown sponsored by Schneiders. Each heat qualifying winner receives $100. The eventual champion receives $1,000 with $500 going to the runner-up and $200 to the third-place finisher.

“There is tremendous pressure for Joey to win three times in a row,” owner Green says. “But I think he’s been enjoying all the attention as defending champion and we’ve decided to go for the three-peat.”

Official Starter and Wiener Warden Joe Gray has not shown a whole lot of puppy love in laying down some stringent rules.

“Only approved dogs competing in the races are allowed on the grounds at any time,” Gray says. “One wiener dog owner stays with the dog in the starting gate and that owner’s partner stays at the finish line. The dogs must reach the finish line by themselves and not be pulled across by over-zealous owners. Each race officially begins when I yell out: ‘Owners, start your wieners!’ and not a second before.”

Gray will again be capably assisted by Wiener Workforce foreman Paul Bouchard, who hopes to avoid an incident that happened in Year One when a nervous competing wiener dog was frightened at the starting gate and bolted under the rail and onto the track infield.

Hastings Director of Racing Paul Ryneveld tried to ketch up to the darling little dachshund but was no match for the four-legged pace.

Coming on the heels of last weekend’s successful Mascot Derby in support of Variety – The Children’s Charity, the 3rd annual Wiener Dog Races are part of a continuing family entertainment program at Hastings where there is never an admission charge.

Friday Night Live Thoroughbred racing goes at 7:00 p.m. while Saturday’s live card starts at 3:20 p.m. and Sunday’s at 1:50 p.m.

$50K stakes on Saturday and Sunday

Saturday’s start time of 3:20 p.m. at Hastings was established to accommodate the Whitecaps MLS 1:00 p.m. game at Empire Field. The feature on Saturday’s eight-race card is the $50,000 Strawberry Morn for fillies and mares going 1-1/16 miles. Railbird experts are calling for a classic showdown between front-runner Classic Alley Kat and late-runner Wando Woman while they also note there is plenty of other potential speed in the eight-horse field.

Trained by Cindy Krasner and ridden by Frank Fuentes, Wando Woman turned on the after-burners to win the Vancouver Sun Handicap on June 25. Classic Alley Kat has pleased trainer Elizabeth Stolzenberg in winning two sprint stakes at Hastings: the Brighouse Belles and Senate Appointee.

St Liams Halo will be the heavy favourite to win his fifth in a row in Sunday’s $50,000 SW Randall Plate for older colts and geldings. This is also a 1 1/16th miles test and has drawn five horses, including Crew Leader, Senor Rojo, Three Wood and Ganbei.

Trained by Troy Taylor, St Liams Halo is undefeated in three starts at Hastings and will again be ridden by leading jockey Mario Gutierrez for owners Glen Todd and Patrick Kinsella. St Liams won both the Lt. Governors’ stakes on July 1 and the John Longden 6000 on May 23.