A Westminster dog show unlike any of its 144 predecessors came to a close late Sunday night, when Wasabi, a three-year-old Pekingese, from East Berlin, Pa., took a star turn on the banks of the Hudson River, taking home Best in Show honors, the most coveted prize in the sport.
Contested away from Madison Square Garden for the first time since 1877, the show – the second oldest continuously running sport event in the U.S. (the Kentucky Derby is first) – was held in a pitched white tent on the grounds of a 19th century Gothic mansion named Lyndhurst, a 25-mile relocation that aimed to avoid any possible pandemic complications. The dogs didn’t seem to miss the midtown mayhem or big-building buzz at all; indeed, by all appearances they thought the open space and fresh air were the next best thing to a treat.
Certainly Wasabi had no problem with the transition, outlasting some 2,500 competitors over two long days to become – quite literally – Top Dog.David Fitzpatrick is Wasabi’s owner and handler. The reserve slot was given to Bourbon the whippet.