It’s that time of year again when Hastings Park Racetrack in Vancouver invites the city’s Dachshunds and their owners to be the between-race entertainment. We all know the horse racing industry is struggling to compete against other forms of gambling that don’t require a person to get dressed and leave the house, and nowhere is that more keenly felt than in BC. Our misleadingly named Liberal provincial government (Libertarian would be more apt) has just raised the weekly limit for online gambling from $120 to – get this – TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. No wonder the sport of kings is suffering.
So, my friend Irene and I headed to the race track on Saturday with our hotrod wieners to see how they measured up to the competition. Most urban wiener dogs are of the mini variety. Ours are good old fashioned full sized German Badger hounds, and my dog Chorizo is about as big as a wiener gets, about fifty percent bigger even than his sister Olive. When we arrived at the track someone said that Chorizo looked like he’d eaten Olive. That’s how big he is. Never mind speed – our dogs were like Gulliver in Lilliput compared to some of the minis, one of which looked like a crack-head wiener with every rib showing and an outline like a whippet (no comment on his owner’s appearance). Chorizo and Olive were unfortunately in the same heat, so they were not able to divide and conquer in the same way as if they had been in different heats. Being in the same race also gave Irene an excuse not to don one of the highly unflattering yellow team t-shirts that we had made for our first races last year. She claimed she didn’t wear the shirt because she didn’t want the race organizers to think we were teaming up to bully everyone else off the track, but I know better. The t-shirt would make even Lady Gaga look like a Super Dog dyke.
Mayhem is always guaranteed when you try to race animals that barely come when they are called and have no race training. One heat had only one dog finish, and even that happened only after the dog had run partway and then back to the handler at the gate a couple of times before finally wandering over the tape. Chorizo slipped his collar while struggling with Jan (my husband) in the start gate, so Jan had to hold him by grappling with his shoulders. The racetrack insists on using the horse gates for the wieners. When the gates open, they make such a clamour that they scare the hell out of the dogs, at least half of which freeze in place and never run a single meter toward the finish line. The gates stalled our dogs’ progress, but not for long. After a couple of bewildered moments, our wieners showed those little minis what kind of business they meant. Chorizo and Olive were in fact the only two dogs to get anywhere near the finish line. As you can see by the video below, Chorizo was in the lead until he became overwhelmed by the fans and paparazzi along the rail. He wandered across the line in confusion, a couple of seconds after his sister. Olive won a wonderfully tacky little trophy, $100 and the chance to run in the final the next day. Good times. Had by all. Thanks to videographer Anita for realizing you were focused on the wrong wiener in time to show Chorizo and Olive win the race.