(Auburn, WA) The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe hosted the extremely popular Indian Relay Races this past weekend and culminated with a thrilling finish and a little controversy like all sports do at times. The Indian Relay Races are a celebration of the Warrior spirit and traditions of each participating tribe. The competition is a 2-mile race with 4 horses, 1 rider, handlers and muggers. It was explained as watching pre-vehicle Nascar racing with the pit-stops as each team battles to finish 1st which means each half mile there is a switch and the cleaner and faster teams can get the horse and rider in and the rider back on and in the race the better chance they have to advance in the 3-day competition.
21-teams began Friday evening and by Sunday the field was divided into 3 heats, consolation 1, consolation 2 and the Championship Heat. With $2,250 going to the consolation 1 winner Grizzley Mountain from Omak held off the Umatilla Express from Oregan team for the win. Here are the full consolation results: 1, Grizzly Mountain ($2,250). 2, Umatilla Express ($1,200). 3, Red Blanket ($900). 4, Old Sun ($600). 5, Blanket Bull ($450). 6, Two-Tone ($300). 7, T.K. Farrier ($300).
In heat 2 the purse went up to $4,500 to the winner and it was a run-away for Idaho’s Tissidimit team. Tissidimit’s 3rd exchange was flawless and gave them about a 10-second lead over Cayuse Express from Nespelem, Washington. Consolation 2 full results 1, Tissidimit ($4,500). 2, Cayuse Express ($2,400). 3, Lakota War Path ($1,800). 4, Cedar Ridge ($1,200). 5, Mountain River ($900). 6, Rides A Pretty Horse ($600). 7, Northwest Express ($600).
In the Championship race team Abrahamson from Washington’s Colville tribe defeated River Road Express from Montana and then survived a Stewards Inquiry to collect the $10,000 1st place check and Championship Trophy. Scotty Abrehamson was the winning rider and held off Chaz Racine as he tried to squeeze through along the rail. After some contact Abrahamson held on for the win and then the stewards rules mutual interference and the original order of finish stood.
The race sets the bar high for the summer Relay Series as not many races have quite as thrilling of finish. The overall winner of the series gets an additional $10,000 bonus so the stakes are high while celebrating the past for each of these individual Indian Nations. Here is the complete order of finish in the Championship Heat: 1, Abrahamson ($10,000). 2, River Road Relay ($4,000). 3, Omak Express ($3,600). 4, Young Money ($2,400). Starr School* ($1,800). Carlson* ($1,200). Little Badger* ($1,200). *-DQ-Lost Horse.
Last year’s 2-year-old of the meet Bella Mia upset odds on choice I’m a Happy Cat to take the $50,000 Kent Stakes on Sunday. The battle of the 3-year-old fillies and mares is now even at 1 apiece as Cat won the opener in the Seattle Stakes. The 2 dueled from the start but Bella pulled away for a 2+ length win stopping the clock in just under 1:16 flat. Julien Couton broke Bella from the 1-hole and immediately took on Cat. the 2 remained no further back than a half length with each other and were head and head into the stretch. Bella carried 119 while Cat was highweighted at 123 and maybe that was the difference in the end. Rocco Bowen rode I’m a Happy Cat for Owners Tim and Sue Spooner.
Couton since returning to Emerald Downs has ridden multiple winners each day he has returned to EmD and sits in 3rd place behind Bowen and Kevin Orozco. Bella Mia races for John and Janene Maryanski of Auburn and is trained by Blaine Wright. Wright’s other horse in the Kent, Downwind, finished 3rd.