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Miniature Poodle Named Sage Wins Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

NEW YORK (AP) — It was a Sage bet.

A miniature poodle named Sage won the top prize Tuesday night at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, an event that often has proven to be a poodle’s realm.

It was the 11th triumph for poodles of various sizes in the United States’ most prestigious canine event — only wire fox terriers have won more. And it was the second best in show win for handler Kaz Hosaka. He led another miniature poodle, Spice, to the trophy in 2002 and said this year’s Westminster would be his last.

“No words,” he said in the ring to describe his reaction to Sage’s win, soon supplying a few words: “So happy — exciting.”

Striding briskly and proudly around the ring, the inky-black poodle “gave a great performance for me,” added Hosaka, who said he’d been competing at Westminster for 45 years.

Sage bested six other finalists to take the top prize. Second went to Mercedes the German shepherd, also guided by a handler, Kent Boyles, who has won the big prize before.

Others in the final round included Comet, a shih tzu who won the big American Kennel Club National Championship last year; Monty, a giant schnauzer who arrived at Westminster as the nation’s top-ranked dog and was a Westminster finalist last year; Louis, an Afghan hound; Micah, a black cocker spaniel; and Frankie, a colored bull terrier.

They faced off at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

In an event where all competitors are champions in the sport’s point system, winning can depend on subtleties and a standout turn in the ring.

“Just to be in the ring with everyone else is an honor,” Monty’s handler and co-owner, Katie Bernardin, said in the ring after his semifinal win. “We all love our dogs.

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