New York | US Open venue hosts premier Dog Show

The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, one of the world’s largest public tennis facilities, is home to the US Open and its centre-piece arena, Arthur Ashe Stadium, this week hosted the 148th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.

The event showcases more than 3,000 dogs of 200 different breeds and varieties, and this year’s Best in Show was awarded to a miniature poodle named Sage.

While the world’s best tennis players chase tennis balls around the courts at Flushing Meadows for 3 weeks every summer, distinguished pups from around the United States strutted their stuff for the right to be crowned Best in Show.

Dogs were narrowed down first through best-of-breed competitions, and then group rounds, and the seven winners of each group went head-to-head on Tuesday night in the hopes of earning the coveted top prize.

The court surface of Arthur Ashe Stadium was transformed into the show’s main stage, both for the actual show and its ancillary events, which include an agility competition, an obedience championship, and dog sport demonstrations, such as ‘herding’ and ‘scent tracking’.

There is also a junior championship, where children 9-18 years of age are judged on their handling skills to promote sportsmanship, proper training and care of dogs among youngsters, preparing them for responsible dog ownership.

Sage, a Miniature Poodle from Houston, Texas, won Best in Show at the Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show held at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York

© Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

In the end, a 3-year-old black miniature poodle named Sage from Houston, Texas was crowned the overall champion, as the 4th of her breed to win the contest, and the first female dog in 4 years to take the crown.

Mercedes, the German Shepherd, finished as the runner-up.

Sage sent her handler, 65-year-old Kaz Hosaka, into retirement with the victory, as he confirmed it was his last show after 45 years in the ring, also confirming that Sage will be joining him in retirement.

“I’ve been here for 45 years in America,” an emotional Hosaka said afterwards, per The Guardian. “I’ve been lucky. Did a lot, especially at Westminster. This is my seventh group win for poodles. That’s more than I could ask for. This is my perfect end. I cannot ask for more than this.”

The Westminster Kennel Club, established in 1877, is America’s oldest organisation dedicated to the sport of dogs, and hosts the iconic, all-breed Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the second-longest, continuously held sporting event in the US, which since 1948, is the longest nationally televised live dog show.

A dog participates in Masters Agility Championship Preliminaries during the 148th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City

© Timothy A Clary/AFP via Getty Images



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