Though dogged fans gathered for the annual corgi races last month at Emerald Downs in Auburn, the event went largely in-corg-nito.
That is, until ESPN aired a rerun of the races last weekend to the bewilderment and delight of viewers.
This year’s races returned July 25 after a 2020 pandemic hiatus. It was held between horse races and started — as it should — with a corgi parade.
A total of 72 corgis competed in six qualifying heats, racing about 150 feet (or about the length of 75 corgis, by our calculations). Angus, of Auburn, ultimately won the championship race, snagging a second title win.
But while Angus might have taken home the trophy, in our biased opinion another corgi won our hearts.
In the first heat, Zoe, of Seattle, was off to a strong start until she suddenly veered left into the infield — as her coach/dad, Seattle Times assistant sports editor Sean Quinton, waited at the finish line.
Her stunning athleticism even made an appearance Monday on “The Late Late Show with James Corden.”
“I love the picture of the Queen standing at the fence … the fistful of cash going ‘C’mon mama needs a new pea coat’,” Corden said. “That was on ESPN, which I don’t think we’re thinking enough about.”
It is worth noting that Emerald Downs doesn’t allow for wagers on corgi races, though participants get a swag bag.
“Zoe has always been one to take her own path,” Quinton said in a statement sent over Slack. “She’s typically the one at the dog park off in the corner while all the other dogs are romping around together. Truly an independent soul.”
(Same, Zoe, same.)
Quinton thinks she got a bit overwhelmed in the moment and didn’t like the feeling of dirt on her paws. Seattle Times staff reporter Paige Cornwell, who was at the starting line with Zoe, says it was “clear her focus was broken by her 12,000 adoring fans.”
“Plus, I’m always yelling at her to not run into my vegetable garden, so maybe she thought she shouldn’t be on any dirt,” Cornwell said.
But all’s well that ends well. Because she lost, Zoe got to relax up in the stands and watch the other corgis race while snacking on discarded popcorn, Quinton said.
“It was really a win-win for her.”