By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport


SCENE & HEARD: Hastings Racecourse is about to experience up close and personal the ‘Corgi Craze’ that has captured dog lovers the world over.

It most assuredly began with the long line of corgis bred by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and heightened with an even larger surge when a younger generation embraced the   ­breed following the Disney fantasy adventure movie The BFG.

Today’s inaugural Corgi Races represent the final leg of Hastings’ popular Dog Days of Summer program. It began with the Bulldog Races on June 23 prior to the wildly celebrated Wiener Dog Races spread over the July 14-15 weekend.

“Because of the response to the wiener dogs over the years we decided to give the bulldogs and corgis a shot this year,” says Darren MacDonald, Hastings General Manager. “Our mandate is to get new fans out to the racetrack and we’re always on the lookout for something unique to attract people.”

Just how popular are the corgis? Look no further than last month’s ‘Corgi Meet-Up’ at Spanish Banks when panicky organizers had to ask people not to attend if they didn’t own corgis or were not planning to adopt or buy one in the near future. Added rangers from the Vancouver Park Board were summoned to the beach to keep things under control.

The only restriction Hastings organizers have put on Corgi Day is that dogs not racing won’t be allowed on site.

Corgis named Porgi, Taco, Waffles, Winnie and Rolo will be out in force at Hastings – 46 in number – to compete in preliminary heats after live thoroughbred races 1, 2, 3 and 4 with the final championship heat going at approximately 4:30 p.m. after the sixth race on today’s seven-race card.

“They are such a fun breed,” says Juliana du Pree, a third-generation corgi breeder. “They are smart, tenacious and stubborn but also a little bit clowny with their comical proportions. If an owner doesn’t take the time to train them properly, they will have that owner trained in no time at all.”