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Sign-ups for weeny dog race under way at Batavia Downs

Information from Batavia Downs:

Wiener dog races return to Batavia Downs on Aug. 24 and sign-ups for the big event started Friday.

If you are interested in racing your Dachshund, call event coordinator Arna Tygart at 585-343-3750, ext. 437. There is an 80-dog limit and an also-eligible list will be started should the need arise. The first 70 dogs entered will receive a canine gift bag courtesy of Genesee Feeds of Batavia.

Of all the promotions presented during the live harness racing meet at Batavia Downs each year, the Dachshund, or “wiener dog” races have become the most popular. Since 2005, thousands of fans have congregated at the fence in front of the grandstand to position themselves for the best view of the starters in each of the carded heats.

This year the wiener dog races will be held on Sunday, Aug. 24, during Family Fun Day at Batavia Downs. Sponsored by Genesee Feeds of Batavia, a total of 10 heats will be contested with eight wiener dogs in each race. The first race will begin after the last live harness race of the day, which will be approximately 4:20 p.m.

For the last three years, a fleet-footed flyer named Gordon (who is owned by Lindsay Ryan-Radzwill of Lancaster, NY) has won this annual event. But his status for defending the crown in 2014 has come into question. The soon-to-be 7-year-old has had a few health issues recently and Radzwill isn't sure if she's going race him this year.

"Gordon just came up lame a few weeks ago. We took him to the vet and he checked out okay and he has been fine ever since. But at this point we're not sure what we're going to do. We may give him a year off; we'll have to see," Ryan-Radzwill said.

Gordon's misfortune could be welcome news for the other doggies who will be storming down the home stretch. With the favorite potentially out of the race, the field becomes ripe for an upset.

The dogs won’t be the only winners here either; each owner will be eligible to receive some nice prizes too if their pet pups prove to be speedy.

The owners of each heat winner (10 in all) will receive $25 in gaming free-play. And the winning, second- and third-place owner in the championship final will receive $100, $75 and $50 in gaming free-play, respectively, along with two complimentary clubhouse buffets each as well.

A 12-race card of afternoon harness racing is scheduled on Family Fun Day with the first post slated for 1:15 p.m. Admission and parking, as always, are free.

Batavia Downs, the oldest lighted harness track in America, will kick off its 68th season of racing next week -- Wednesday, July 23 -- with a new post time of 6:35 p.m.

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