The champion canine winning was no accident. Piccolo's owners said their entry was well-prepared.
"He raced last year, but he was young, only 5 or 6 months old, and he turned right around and ran back to the start. This time, he was more mature, and had been to the dog park a bit," said Piccolo's owner, Minut Sanden.
In the last few weeks, Minut and her husband, Gunnar, fashioned a starting box at home to help familiarize Piccolo with what to expect. Now a year older, Piccolo, who is mostly white with a fawn mask and weighs between 5 and 6 pounds, responded well with the win.
Close behind was second place winner Angel, owned by Sidney Chadbourne, while Cookie, owned by Melissa Morning, took third.
Regional races were also held Saturday in Orlando, Phoenix, Sacramento and Anaheim, California. On April 26, PETCO Unleashed Chihuahua races will be held in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Seattle; and on May 3 in San Francisco, Boston, Denver, San Diego and New York. The 15 regional champions will head to San Diego to battle it out in front of cheering crowds between innings of the Padres game at PETCO Park.
The national winner will receive a trophy, a $300 PETCO gift card and a year's supply of Royal Canin Chihuahua food. Plus, the winner will earn the coveted title of America's Fastest Chihuahua.