Wasabi, a Pekingese, won best in the show for the fifth time on Sunday night, becoming the first to do so in the breed’s history. Bourbon, a whippet, was the runner-up for the second year in a row.
Wasabi won the huge American Kennel Club National Championship in 2019 after waddling through a small-but-mighty turn in the ring.
“He knows how to put on a show. He meets the breed’s requirements. Wasabi’s handler, breeder, and co-owner David Fitzpatrick remarked, “He has that little extra something, that shine, that sets a dog different.” “What is there not to admire about this dog?” questioned show judge Patricia Trotter. … As if he were a lion, he stood there.”
Fitzpatrick, of East Berlin, Pennsylvania, coached Malachy Peke to the Westminster Championship in 2012. “I simply don’t always assume lightning will strike twice,” he said.
What will Wasabi do to commemorate the occasion?
“He’s welcome to a filet mignon. With a giggle, Fitzpatrick added, “And I’ll have Champagne.”
Meanwhile, his handler described the 3-year-old Pekingese as “quite indifferent about the whole situation.” As Fitzpatrick spoke in front of a swarm of reporters and photographers, Wasabi lay down on the dais, periodically gazing up as though to see what all the excitement was about.
It was a bittersweet victory, as one of his co-owners, archaeologist Iris Love, died of COVID-19 last year. Sandra Middlebrooks and Peggy Steinman, in addition to Fitzpatrick, are co-owners of the dog.
Named after his Mother
Wasabi, named after his mother Sushi, triumphed over a finals pack that comprised Mathew the French bulldog, Connor the elderly English sheepdog, Jade the German shorthaired pointer, Striker the Samoyed, and Boy the West Highland white terrier. A total of 2,500 champion dogs competed in the event.
Due to the coronavirus epidemic, it faced significant modifications this year. The show goes on relocating out of New York City for the first time since its inception in 1877. This year’s exhibition was conducted outside at an estate in suburban Tarrytown, roughly 25 miles north of Madison Square Garden, where the top ribbon is typically handed, and it took place in June rather than February.
Some handlers wore masks, however, vaccinated persons were permitted to go without, and the event was closed to the public as a sign of the epidemic times.
Fitzpatrick stated, “It’s a marvel they had this show at all.”
Striker entered the event as the top-ranked dog in the United States, having won more than 40 best in show awards since January 2020. Bourbon has also won the National Championship of the American Kennel Club.
Valerie Nunes-Atkinson, Jade’s handler, and co-owner had mixed feelings about the show. CJ, Jade’s father, won best in a show at the 2016 Westminster Horse Show. But she lost him last September when the 7-year-old died suddenly of a fungal illness.
Nunes-Atkinson, of Temecula, California, said, “The nice aspect about it is: He’s left a wonderful legacy.” Jade “had my heart” from the moment she was born, she claimed.
The boy had traveled a long way to Westminster, said to handler Rebecca Cross, from Thailand, where one of his owners was watching from Bangkok.
Cross, of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, stated, “He always makes us chuckle.”
Even for baseball’s all-time home run leader, Barry Bonds, who was cheering on a tiny schnauzer he owns with sister Cheryl Dugan, simply getting to Westminster is a delight for many dog owners.
Rocky, the dog, didn’t win his breed at the show, but the slugger said he was happy with him. He was happy just for making it to the champions-only event.
“We won because we got here,” says the narrator. That’s all that matters, according to Bonds. “I’ve played in a number of postseason games and the World Series, but I’ve never won. But I kept trying for 22 years.”
Bonds, 56, owns baseball’s career home run record with 762. However, his achievement is tainted by claims of steroid usage, which he has denied.
The semifinal and final rounds in the show conduct in a climate-control tent. Also, the action begins on the grass at the Lyndhurst estate.
Douglas Tighe takes second place in the sporty group with a Brittany named Pennie. Douglas says he just goes with it if his dogs are attracted by birds. Sometimes his dogs are also attracted by other sights in the wide outdoors.
Tighe, of Hope, New Jersey, stated, “Let them have fun.” “It all boils down to that.”
To Kole Brown, it’s also about that. On Sunday, at the age of nine, he demonstrated a bull terrier named Riley with his parents, Kurtis Brown and U.S. Air Force Capt. Samantha Brown, as well as some of the family’s other bull terriers.
Kole, of San Antonio, Texas, stated, “I have a lot of fun with this sport.” “I have a grin on my face every time I step into the ring.”