(Auburn, WA) The 2021 race season is grinding down with just 5 race days left, this week the traditional Indian relay races began on Friday night and had races on both Saturday with the finals on Sunday. Also, 2 of the final 5 stakes races were run on Sunday and featured the youngsters with the Washington Cup Juvenile Filly Stakes and the Washington Cup Juvenile Colts and Geldings.
Washington Cup Filly Stakes
A field of 5 went to the post of the 6 1/2 and Koron was the 6-5 morning line favorite and earned that designation with impressive 5 1/2 length win in the Barbara Shinpoch Stakes back on August 21st. Koron came into the Shinpoch with a MSW win under her belt but got overlooked as most of the money got bet on Gold N Glitter who was odds on and finished 2nd behind Koron. Koron was let go at 14-1 on that day for trainer Kay Cooper and owners the Blue Ribbon Racing Ladies, Kevin Orozco was back to ride Koron again in the Wa Cup.
Gold N Glitter was back as well and installed as the 7-5 2nd favorite coming from the Frank Lucarelli barn for owners Chad and Josh, Javier Matias was in the saddle. Cadillac Margarita with Juan Gutierrez up, Pontiffany was 10-1 with Alex Anaya and Alex Cruz was up on longshot Let It Reign at 20-1.
When the gates opened in the 6 1/2 furlong race it was not Koron who jetted to the lead but rather Gold N Glitter and Pontiffany also broke well and was putting pressure on Gold N Glitter so Orozco chose to sit close to the top 2 but as soon as Cadillac Margarita began to stop he was ready to put pressure on Gold N Glitter. Gold N Glitter set some blistering fractions of 22.33 for the quarter and 44.92.
As they wound into the turn it was then that Orozco edged closer and by the quarter pole Koron was on even terms with Gold N Glitter. Orozco and Koron were begin to pull away but both horses were at the end of their rope and began to slow way down in mid stretch, meantime 15-1 Let It Reign with Cruz up had lagged well behind and was picking it up on the far outside. Koron got out by a neck to 1/2 length and then win by 1 1/4 while Gold N Glitter was stopping which set up Let It Reign who got up to nip Gold N Glitter for 2nd and Orozco said if the race was 50-yards longer both of the front runners likely would have lost. But he quickly added that it wasn’t 50 yards longer and Koron ran the perfect race.
Koron stopped the clock in 1:19.10 and picked up a $27,500 check for her owners the Blue Ribbon Racing Ladies and trainer Kay Cooper. Koron is a Washington bred by Nationhood, out of Muchas Coronas by Macho Uno and bred by Rick and Debbie Pabst. Koron is now a perfect 3 wins in 3 starts and has earned just shy of $66,000.
Koron returned $3.40 for the $2 win, while Let It Reign paid $9 on the $2 place. The 2 combined for a $12.30 exacta.
Kevin Orozco on his winning ride on Koron
Washington Cup Colts and Geldings
There was a scratch in this one leaving 6 to go postward and trainer Kay Cooper again saddled the morning-line favorite A View From Above with Julien Couton. The 2nd choice on the M-L was Cobra Jet with Juan Gutierrez up for Frank Lucarelli. These two met on August 21st in the WTBOA Lads Stakes and A View From Above took them wire-to-wire and was looking to do that again in the Wa Cup set for 6 1/2 furlongs.
The rest of the field were all 18-1 or higher with Diamond Willow at 18-1 with Alex Cruz up, Hickory Wind with Jose Zunino at 25-1, Big Paper Daddy at 28-1 and Leslie Mawing aboard and at 64-1 was Neumeister with Alex Anaya.
As expected A View from Above, who was inside of Cobra Jet went straight to the lead but Gutierrez on Cobra Jet knew he could not let Couton and “View” have their way on the front or it would be over so Cobra Jet laid off just a 1/2 length to the first quarter of the 6 1/2 furlong race and they set a very fast 21.85. Cruz took Diamond Willow just behind the two speed demons and were well ahead of the other 3 who would finish 4th, 5th and 6th.
As they approached the 1/2 mile pole Cobra Jet closed to within a head and the throw down was on as the duo posted a 44.35 time. The question was could these 2 go another 2 1/2 furlongs heads apart and who would get the advantage? Cobra Jet answered that question at the 1/4 pole and exploded past A View from Above and drew off to a 5 length lead. His turn of foot was eye catching and also ended all doubts as Cobra Jet cruised to a 5 1/4 length win.
The next question was could “View” hold on for 2nd and the answer was no as Alex Cruz again gets one of the longshots up for 2nd with Diamond Willow and this time a clear 2nd 3 lengths in front of a tiring A View from Above.
Cobra Jet finished the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.28. Cobra Jet is owned by R. E. V. Racing, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Lucarelli Racing and trained by Frank Lucarelli and picked up the $27,500 winners check. Cobra Jet is now 3-1-0 from 4 career starts with a bankroll of more than $76,000. Cobra Jet is a Washington bred by Curlin to Mischief, out of Atta Gal Val by Atta Boy Roy and bred by Mr and Mrs William Griffen.
Cobra Jet paid $4.80 for the win and again the Cruz longshot had a nice place return at $11.20 and the two would combine for a $30.60 exacta.
Trainer Frank Lucarelli on Cobra Jet’s big win in the Wa Cup
Muckleshoot Gold Cup Indian Relay Races
Sunday was the annual Muckelshoot Gold Cup Indian Relay horse races. The races are comprised of 4 horse teams that each run a 1/2 mile for a total of a 2 mile race. However, there is only 1 rider and the rider must dismount and jump on the next horse all bareback.
The qualifying began on Friday night and continued on Saturday with the Gold Cup finale on Sunday evening preceded by 2 consolation runs.
Muckelshoot Gold Cup
1 S/M Express from Lodge Grass, Montana
2 Amskapi Pikunii from Browning, Montana
3 Two Medcine from Browning, Montana
4 Carlson Relay from Browning, Montana
5 Omak Express from Omak, Washington
6 Strong Horse Relay from Nespelem, Washington
The Muckleshoot Gold Cup, the culmination of the 3 day event with a $10,000 prize on the line for the winners came down to a great 3-way battle in the final stretch.
Here is the re-cap from Emerald Downs Media Director Vince Bruun:
The fifth Muckleshoot Gold Cup Championship came down to the final 50 yards as three Indian Relay teams were battling it out for the $10,000 first-place check.
Rider Chris Carlson (Amskapi Pikunii) made a dramatic move to switch to the outside of S/M Express and rider Desmond Archilita in the closing yards to cross the finish line first and win the Muckleshoot Gold Cup Sunday afternoon in front a good turn out at Emerald Downs.
Amskapi Pikunii had a terrific weekend winning Heat One Saturday night and gained a second in Friday’s Heat Three. The team from Browning, MT (Blackfeet Nation) pocketed $12,400 for the weekend.
Chazz Racine and Carlson out of Browning, MT (Blackfeet) ended up second in the $24,200 Muckleshoot Gold Cup raced at the 2-mile distance. They also had a second and a third to end the week with $7,000 in prize earnings.
The S/M Express team was later disqualified from second for a lost horse on the final exchange.
Rounding out the top three was Two Medicine with rider Cody Carlson also of the Blackfeet Nation. They also had an outstanding weekend with a win Friday night and a second on Saturday to total $6,000 in money.
A total of $65,000 in prize money was given out at the event that had 18 teams from five states compete in the three-day event.
1 Little Badger from Browning, Montana
2 Cayuse Express from Nspelem, Washington
3 Abrhamson Relay from Omak, Washington
4 Counting Coup/Pikuni Express from Browning, Washington
5 Black Rock Relay from Browning, Washington
6 Lakota Warpath from Oglala, South Dakota
Team Abrahamson with rider Scott Abrahamson started fast but settled into 2nd place going into the 1st turn and down the backstretch but as they approached the relay change area Abrhamson surged to the lead and with a very quick switch was off to a big lead and simply would not be caught. Team Abrahamson won the 2nd consolation by a wide margin and coasted to the victory.
#1 Long Feather Relay from Fort Yates, North Dakota
#2 Frontline Relay from Fort Thompson, South Dakota
#3 Starr School from Browning, Montana
#4 Grizzly Mountain from Omak, Washington
#5 Teton from Blackfoot, Idaho
#6 River Road from Crow Agency, Montana
River Road were the 2019 Champions and favorite to win the 1st Consolation and started off in the lead with Teton right behind. Rider Tory Provost was dynamic in the first two change-overs but with a significant lead over Teton with rider Miaus Teton who also had a big lead over the rest of the field it would take a big mistake for Teton to get the win and was looking to secure 2nd.
Well mistakes happen and Provost came in hard on the 3rd change but when he went to mount his 4th horse he slipped off but his handler still had him and Teton then made up a lot of ground. Then the unthinkable happened for Provost as he went to jump on a 2nd time the handler let go this time and he again slipped off and their final horse was gone and they were out of the race. This left an easy win for Team Teton as they cruised past the finish line winning a very exciting 1st race of the day.