Like the Kentucky Derby, but with Puppies

Eighteen wee waggers'll chase rose-shaped biscuits at the Helen Woodward Animal Center.

Helen Woodward Animal Center

DERBY DOGS: While many hound-loving humans are teased for treating their pups as if they were people, complete with costumes and fancy treats and suites and such, dogs rarely enter the horse arena. There is an exception, and it is pretty cute, and it promotes adoption and wagger welfare. The momentous occasion? The Kentucky Derby, or, in the dogs' case, the day before. The event? The Ken-Barky Derby at the Helen Woodward Animal Center. Eighteen puppies'll "chase rose-shaped dog biscuits out of the starting gates" and local schoolchildren will visit the Rancho Santa Fe center cheer them on. Let us add local schoolchildren rocking the sort of hats one might see at Churchill Downs (the kids will make their chapeaux earlier in the day).

RACE TIE-IN... And will the "gelding and filly orphan puppies" be given names of the horses racing in the Derby itself? They will. Which makes us wonder this: Since the Ken-Barky Derby is running a day ahead of the Kentucky Derby, on Friday, May 2, should people eager to know what pony might take the top prize keep an eye on the puppy bearing the pony's name? Would it be too coincidental if the pup who won held the winning horse's moniker? Stranger things have happened in the animal world. The human world, too.

DOGLY DETAILS: There's a morning of merry to-dos, including miniature horses choosing their favorites in the race via number carrots. (Number carrots should probably be used to determine more matters in this life.) Want to get a peek of the puppies ready to run and stumble and tumble and pant and paw, as puppies will? The adoptable pups have their horsey handles and are ready. We've got our eye on you to place, California Chrome and Dance with Fate.

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