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Ba Ria – Vung Tau Racing Dog Training Center

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Going about 2 km from the gate of Ba Ria City, we get to an attractive destination: Ba Ria – Vung Tau Racing Dog Training Center. Let’s visit the center to see how the racing dogs are taken care of and trained. This is considered the biggest racing dog center in Vietnam travel with 300 mature dogs. These are Greyhound dogs from Australia. Greyhound is a species of hunting dog bred for performances and races. However, these dogs are quite gentle and smart. Greyhound dogs look slender with long legs, well-developed chest and flexible backbone. This species of dog may run at the average speed of more than 60 km/h….

ba ria vung tau racing dog training center1

It is 7 p.m., on a Saturday in Vung Tau City, and it’s raining cats and dogs. The streets are soaked in water, and rains are slapping on our faces. Such conditions still cannot cool our heart, as four of us all are eager to watch a dog race. So we rush to Lam Son Stadium.

We pay VND60,000 each to get the ticket and enter the large stadium, passing several booths serving drinks and fastfood to reach a dry area where benches for audiences are available. Here, we find four dogs lying in two cages, and luckily, know that the race will not start in the next 15 minutes as not many audiences have shown up due to the rain.

There are noisy groups of audiences who have all get wet and cold and seem quite impatient to wait for the race. There in a corner, a man in his 40s is sitting quietly, watching four dogs. He is one of the staff of 60 people who are in charge of taking care and training different groups of around 400 racing dogs, and has done the job for almost a decade now.

They are actually sleepy so they look boring,” says the man, turning his head towards the cages, “but wait until you see the grown-up dog on the race.

Well, so those big dogs whose legs and bodies are all thin and long are not yet fully grown up?” I ask the man. He says those dogs are just three to four months old now, and need to reach ten months to start their training course so that they can be ready for a race about one year later.

They are all greyhound dogs.
They were born here but their parents are from Australia. All of the first racing dogs of Sports & Entertainment Services Co., Ltd. (SES), the organizer and founder of the race, are greyhounds from Australia,” he says.

The heavy rain finally becomes slighter, and the race is about to begin. The grandstand, whose capacity is 2,000 if fully packed, heats us up with more and more audiences coming, even before we realize it.

Eight dogs are kept in cages in eight separate rooms. A red cotton object shaped like a horse is released to move around the stadium, and… the game is on! Gates are opened and the eight dogs run forwards, trying to catch the red cotton in front of them and in no time amidst loud noises and cries from the excited audiences, all the dog finish the 450-meter race. With their thin and long bodies, those dogs are really born to race when they move at a speed of around 60 kilometers per hour. What a thrilling scene to see!

After each round, every dog is accompanied by a man, who leads them back to the starting point.
As first-timers at the race, we are more curious about how to game is played and how the dog can race rather than caring which one is the winner after every round of the total 12 rounds each night.

However, in the middle of the game, we learn about the betting, which is completely legal, and understand why many men look so strained, hoping for the dog they bet on to win.

The man mentioned above, who declines to be named, says apart from dogs of the company, a dog can be owned by an individual or a group.

Even you can own a dog,” says the man, who is the trainer-keeper-caregiver. “Only if you’re rich enough to fund for it,” he jokes when giving fresh milk for the four dogs, and then clean water, before watching them lying down for a sleep.

Just a few dogs are kept here at Lam Son Stadium. The rest of them are raised and trained at the training center of SES in Ba Ria Town of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, which is well-equipped with cages, kitchen, warehouse, a racetrack for testing and a clinic for dogs, which are said to meet Australian standards.

At around ten, when the rain has stopped and the light goes off, we watch the four dogs looking at us with curiosity and even trying to touch us without any barking or snorting.

They are so cute,” says my cousin. “Oh yes they are, easy to approach, never bite, hardly bark, all of them, not just those young ones,” answers the man.

And at that point we bid farewell to Lam Son Stadium, and I myself find those dogs so kind to offer us such a nice show to watch and to entertain. So I will remember Vung Tau City with another experience apart from beaches, landscapes, museums, churches and pagodas.

Greyhound racing is held weekly on Friday and Saturday nights at Lam Son Stadium, at 15 Le Loi Street, Vung Tau City.

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