02/02/2012 11:45 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Dog Racing in Vung Tau

The coastal city of Vung Tau is a well-known tourist site in Vietnam. At weekends, besides swimming in the sea, enjoying entertainment and amusement activities and visiting beautiful areas, visitors can watch dog racing, a fun and unique sport.

 Dog racing was introduced to Vietnam by Sport and Entertainment Service Company (SES-VN) and was officially licensed in 2001 in Vung Tau. Now Vung Tau is the only place in Vietnam and Southeast Asia that has this sport. The dogs are Greyhounds, a hunting dog breed from Ireland which were imported to Vietnam by Nguyen Ngoc My, a Vietnamese Australian man. SES-VN breeds this species of dog in a farm in Ba Ria Town. Now Lam Son Stadium which serves as a dog racecourse and dog training centre has about 800 Greyhounds.
Dog racing is usually held on Saturdays so it is convenient for tourists to watch during their visit to Vung Tau.


The trainers introduce the dogs to the viewers.

The viewers watch the race on the screen.

Many people participate in choosing a dog to focus on to make the race more interesting.

A dog athlete at the racecourse.

The trainers take the dogs to the track.

The cages are numbered according to the numbers of the “dog athletes”.

Start.

The dogs run at a speed of about 60hm/hour, faster than the speed of a track-and-field athlete.

After the race, the dogs are taken to a specific area for rest to prepare for the next race.

The races last three hours, from 19h30 to 22h30 with 10 laps. Each circuit is 450m long and involves eight dogs that run at a speed of nearly 60km/hour or about 30 seconds per lap on average which is faster than the speed of a track-and-field athlete. The dog reaching the finish line first is the winner.
The racecourse is not too large, so viewers in the stands can watch the running of the “dog athlete”. After the starting gun has started the race, a fake rabbit which is stuck on a slide around the track, will move ahead and faster than the dogs, but the distance between the bait and the dogs is kept within reach.
Besides watching the dog race, the viewers also participate in the prize programme to make the race more exciting. Before choosing a dog to focus on, the fans are provided with a brochure with instructions on how to choose a potential winner. There are detailed introductions on each dog, from its good or bad past performances to its health and the last race it participated in. This information helps the fans calculate and consider before making a selection. However, this is just a little “spice” to make the race more interesting for the viewers’ relaxation and entertainment, not for betting or competition. Therefore, the slogan that the organizers of this sport set out is: “Enjoy each race to ignore the stress in work”.
While the dogs are running, people in the stands shout and encourage their favorite dog. At the end of the race, they leave the course with an excited feeling and their tiredness has disappeared.
                                                                                                                                                               Story: Vy Thao - Photo: Tran Huan