Since last May, Churchill Downs’ enthusiasts have anxiously anticipated this year’s crisp mint juleps and a view of the Twin Spires, but at Helen Woodward Animal Center, a refreshing water bowl and the view of a brand new home sounds just as sweet. On Friday, May 2nd at 10:30 a.m., twenty available “gelding” and “filly” puppies (bearing the names of contending Derby Horses) will gear up to go nose-to-nose in the 3rd Annual “Run with the Noses” Competition in the Center’s Paddocks Arena. Rose-shaped dog biscuits and dog toys will lead them to the finish line but each pup ultimately aims to finish in the arms of a loving family. The event is free to public and will include a cheering crowd of more than seventy-five schoolchildren from Solana Santa Fe Elementary. Adopters of Ken-Barky Derby contenders will be automatically entered to win a rose-themed gift basket and a “gold cup” dog bowl.

The upcoming “Run with the Noses” Competition is part of Helen Woodward Animal Center’s on-going efforts to increase the visibility of the large number of available adoptables and to highlight the unique personalities of each canine through an event that is both fun for the puppies and for the public. This year, the Center is incorporating another important element – a lesson on the importance of adoption. Children, ages 10 and 11, will join the Helen Woodward Animal Center Education Instructors at 9 a.m. for a morning of “spectator” hat-making and derby fan sign-making along with a message about the impact of adopting and saving lives. The students will then stay to enjoy the festivities, cheering their favorites to the finish line. The attending students will also each bring a can of pet food to donate to Helen Woodward Animal Center’s AniMeals Program, providing food to the pets of home-bound elderly.

If you would like to attend the race, are interested in adopting, would like to make a donation, or would like more information, contact Helen Woodward Animal Center Adoptions Department at: 858-756-4117 ext. 313, visit or stop by at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe.