Monday, April 21, 2014 - 12:34:02 AM

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Camel and Ostrich trainers gear up for Sunday

NICHOLS -- This week Tioga Downs transforms from a horse racing track to a camel and ostrich racing track.

The animals, raised and trained in Kansas, are in town in advance of Sunday's race, which is a very popular event in the Southern Tier.

However, when a person thinks of animal racing, a camel and an ostrich are certainly not two animals that pop right up in someone's mind. Is training one of them anything like training a horse?

AJ Augusto, Animal Handler, says, "We work with them when they're young just to get them used to being able to walk in there and handle and stuff like that. It's repetition, repetition, repetition. We put them on the track and we practice them just like horse races."

"If you can train a dog or a horse, it's the same concept," adds his cohort Monte McClurg.

Sunday's races are free to the public.

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