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Galloping Greyhounds

 Estimated reading time: 3 min. Texts Mónica Pons   Photos Jorge González
Greyhound Race in Las Lajas

As the trial is enjoyed in the open air, the competitive spirit of all attendants can be felt in the air.

Greyhound racing is not a famous activity but it summons followers in several provinces in this country. There is a dog racing track at Las Lajas, to one side of the road joining Zapala with Caviahue/Copahue. While traveling towards the Andes Mountain Range, we passed by this venue at the time a provincial tournament was being held. We could not resist attending this event in order to get familiar with this specialty.

The track is made of dirt and fenced. It is 200 meters long. The greyhounds -both male and female- run 100, 150 or 200 meters, according to age. We came close to the roundabout where they were looking forward to starting running. They feature short brindle fur in beige, brown or grey. Thus, the presenter introduced the participants and handled the bets, while the track manager and the judges checked that everything was in order.
Greyhound Race in Las Lajas

We kept on walking. The other dogs were tied away from the noisy crowd. They looked thin, elegant and docile. A black female greyhound seemed to be saying “I will win today”.

We made ourselves comfortable by the fence that separates the track from the audience and the greyhounds got ready at the starting gates. The blue and white flag went all the way up to set the start of the race.

The judges took their positions to start the race and time it. At times, a snout makes a difference at the finish line. Some greyhounds had a muzzle on, as it is usual for them to attempt to bite their contenders during the race.
Greyhound Race in Las Lajas
In a matter of seconds, all the greyhounds crossed the finish line at incredible speed. Their muscles were tense and their four legs stretched out, only one line from the tail to the snout, barely touching the ground. They run after a lure they yearn to catch and the secret lies in their not succeeding.

The intense noise coming from the crowd prevented us from hearing their step. The winner was consecrated amidst the dust. The exhausted competitors were removed from the track by their owners so that they would walk around in order to catch their breath.

Feeling at Home

Then we took some time to wander around the groups that occupied the venue full of trees. Families were having picnics or making asado. Mate, beer and soft drinks were shared everywhere.
Greyhound Race in Las Lajas
We stopped to have a chat with some of the breeders. They told us that some of them have from 4 to 6 trained dogs and travel around to take part in competitions so that they may measure the abilities of their dogs as compared with other dogs the same level and age, according to category. Juan, a breeder from Buta Ranquil, told us that he trains his two greyhound puppies in a sand ravine. They become used to that difficulty and get ready for the track, which is made of dirt. Thus, they manage best timing during the tests. The females are faster than the males.

They are fed liver and pellets, vitamins and a special medication that ensures good oxygenation of the bronchial tube and lungs. A good animal is the collection of its rage and good training.
Greyhound Race in Las Lajas
We bade farewell to the racing tack. It is easy to find, as its façade boasts the figure of a greyhound made of concrete. We enjoyed a different experience and learned a little bit more about these animals trained only to be speedy.
Useful Data
How to get here
Greyhound racing track on Provincial Route 21, outside Las Lajas.
Take National Route 40 at Zapala heading for Las Lajas and then Provincial Route 21 to Caviahue.
An affordable ticket is charged.
There is a canteen in the venue.
Inter Patagonia


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