The starting gates will be occupied at Pimlico Race Track on Sunday, April 8, but there won’t be any horses. Instead of thoroughbreds, visitors will find purebred bulldogs ready to run the historic track at the second annual Bulldog Day hosted by Hunt Valley Animal Hospital. The event will bring lovers of the wrinkly-faced breed from near and far to raise money for local rescues.
Dr. Allan Frank, owner of the hospital and bulldog dad, specializes in soft palate surgery and other procedures that are often needed for bulldogs, who have a higher tendency to experience breathing challenges. Last year, he hosted the inaugural Bulldog Day in Cockeysville that attracted a crowd of nearly 800 bulldog lovers and 200 dogs.
“Bulldogs are one of the most lovable, comical dog breeds out there,” Dr. Frank said. “We know many people in our region love this breed, too, and after the great success of last year’s event, we decided to throw an even bigger celebration this year.”
The day will include contests—including best French bulldog, best English bulldog, best costume, best puppy, best senior, and best butt wiggle—prizes, a kissing booth, food, and music. New this year, given the venue, will be the “Racing of the Bulls,” where participating bulldogs will compete to see who’s the fastest.
“The whole thing is going to be so funny,” said Kelly Rowe, the hospital’s administrator. “They're bulldogs, so it’s not going to be a lengthy race. We’re talking 15 yards tops—it will be hilarious.”
There will also be a caricaturist, moon bounce, and even a little pool area for the dogs to cool off after the race. In addition to more than 30 pet-related vendors selling everything from dog biscuits to puppy portraits, there will also be seven rescues featured with their own booths in hopes of being adopted.
Expecting to double last year’s attendance, Bulldog Day will be held rain or shine, and admission is $8 per adult at the door. Children and dogs are free, but proof of up-to-date vaccinations will be required upon entry (for the dogs, of course, not the children). There will even be vets on site from Hunt Valley Animal Hospital to ensure that all dogs are safe while participating in the events and hanging out with their pooch pals.
“It’s going to be a fun, family-friendly event,” Rowe said. “The more we can give back to the rescues, the better. It’s a day to celebrate how unique and wonderful bulldogs are.”