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Pa’s day finally comes at Westminster

February 12, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ Family business kept Pa away from the Westminster Kennel Club Show last year.

This year, the standard schnauzer with the dignified gray moustache finally got his chance. He made the most of it, winning the best in show award Tuesday at the nation’s most prestigious dog competition.

Pa _ who goes by Ch. Parsifal Di Casa Netzer in the show ring _ was the pick of the working group, one of hundreds of titles he has won as the nation’s top standard schnauzer for the past three years.

He sat out last year’s Westminster because the best-in-show judge was Roy Holloway, father of his handler and father-in-law of one of his owners.

When the victory was announced, Rita Holloway, the co-owner and wife of Holloway’s son Douglas, burst into sobs on the sidelines. ``Give me a Kleenex or something,″ she said as friends threw their arms around her. A laughing Roy Holloway shook hands all around as the new champion, nearly as silver as his trophy, posed for pictures.

Pa is co-owned by Gabrio Del Torre of Italy and will retire after competing in the World Championship in Puerto Rico in June.

He’s already experienced parenthood, another post-Westminster tradition, siring ``many many champions in the U.S. and Europe, too,″ said Maria Vestuti, an associate of Del Torre’s who bred some of Pa’s ancestors.

Pa was selected from among seven group winners. The sporting, hound and herding group champions were chosen earlier Tuesday evening, and the toy, working, terrier and non-sporting group winners were chosen Monday.

The show produced surprising results for some other longtime champions.

The day began with a predictable best-of-breed victory for Ch. Tryst of Grandeur, an Afghan hound who is the top winning hound of all time. But she placed third in the hound group, where she finished second in 1995 and first last year.

Trainer Michael Canalizo refused to be disappointed.

``Three best-in-breed in a row? I’ll take that any day and retire,″ he said. And that _ as well as motherhood _ is what now awaits the 6-year-old dog, owned by Rodger, Gregg, Scott and Todd Rechler Old Mill Neck, N.Y.

Tryst was one of three returning group winners from 1996. Only one went on to repeat his performance: Ch. Spotlight’s Spectacular, a Dalmatian owned by longtime multi-breed backer Mrs. Alan Robson, again was named best non-sporting dog.

The third returnee, a papillon named Ch. Loteki Supernatural Being, didn’t get past his breed competition, losing to a nephew. Last year, the little dog won the toy group and was praised by Roy Holloway as his second choice for best-in-show. He finished 1996 as the top toy in the nation.

Westminster is a test of conformation, in which judges decide which dog best meets the American Kennel Club standards for its breed. All competing dogs must already have earned the title of champion by winning a number of AKC-recognized shows.

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