ELORA, ON — Harness racing drivers James MacDonald, Mike Saftic and Billy Davis Jr. are three of 30 keen dog owners vying for a dash of glory in tonight’s inaugural Wiener Dog Race at Grand River Raceway.
Collectively, the three reinsmen have won more than 8,000 horse races and purse earnings in excess of $126 million. But tonight is all about the little win.
Saftic sports the veteran of the three 10-dog fields. Sophie is an 11-year-old Dachshund weighing in at six pounds. “She’s small, quick and fast. She’s made for a half-mile track,” said Saftic. Sophie will start from post nine in the first heat.
The Davis and MacDonald pooches start from the rail and two-hole, respectively, in the third elimination division.
Alley is a freshman two-year-old Wiener weighing 14 pounds owned by Davis and Amy McNair. “Alley has been training down with the two-year-old horses at McNair Stables and is ready for the competition,” said Davis.
MacDonald’s starter, Tank, is one and weighs in at 12 pounds. Jenna MacDonald will handle wrangling duties tonight. “Tank MacDonald is a yearling brown and tan Wiener that comes from a strong racing family,” Jenna said. “Adoptive father James MacDonald was the 2014 Battle Of The Belles winner and the reigning Bouncy Pony Stakes champ. The Tankster has the need for speed and the strong urge to do his family proud (if we can just keep him from being distracted by something shiny).
The 30 dogs will be introduced on-air, trackside, on the Tarmac Show segment prior to Race 5 (approx. 7:40) and the dog races will be after Race 5 (approx.. 7:50).
All dashes are 20 metres. The winner of each of the three heats advances to the final race-off. All four dashes will be conducted consecutively after race five. The winners will be recognized on-air after race six.
Each contestant will receive a participatory prize compliments of event sponsors Loyall Pet Food and Legendary Canine. The race-off winner will receive a $100 gift card. Runner-up and third-place will strut home with a $50 gift card.
A list of all 30 starters can be found on the Wiener Dog Race webpage.
This is Grand River Raceway’s second-last Fun & Frivolity Friday race night of the summer. Other activities this evening include The NEIGHbourhood kids’ program, which includes a special showing by miniature horse Mullingar, who will provide rides on the tarmac. Mullingar will return for the final Fun & Frivolity Friday race night on September 4, which features a miniature horse race and the Wanna Drive program which gives fans the chance to drive a racehorse (accompanied by a pro) between the races.
Post time for the first horse race this evening is 6:30pm.
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PHOTO: Tank, owned by Driver James MacDonald of Guelph and his wife Jenna. Tank starts from post two in the third elimination division for tonight’s inaugural Wiener Dog Race at Grand River Raceway. (Photo courtesy of Jenna MacDonald)