MUCKLESHOOT GOLD CUP UNDERWAY AT EMERALD DOWNS
AUBURN, Wash. (Sept. 10, 2021) – Omak Express, Two Medicine and Strong Horse Relay all won qualifying heats Friday on opening night of the fifth annual $67,000 Muckleshoot Gold Cup Indian Relay Racing at Emerald Downs.
The three-day event features 18 of the finest Indian relay teams in the nation, representing tribes from Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Four previous Muckleshoot Gold Cup champions competed—Carlson Relay (2016), Starr School (2017), Abrahamson (2018), River Road (2019)—although none of those teams were victorious Friday.
In the night’s closest contest Strong Horse Relay and rider Mathew Pakootas Jr. overhauled Amskapi Pikunii and rider Chris Carlson in the final yards, winning the two-mile event in 3:46.81.
Two Medicine and rider Cody Carlson turned in the night’s fastest time with a 3:35.37 in the second qualifying race.
Omak Express and Tyler Peasley were victorious in the opener, running two miles in 3:41.65.
The Muckleshoot Gold Cup continues Saturday with three more qualifying heats and concludes Sunday with two consolations and the championship final Muckleshoot Gold Cup at 5:46 p.m.
The Saturday and Sunday races will be held in conjunction with the Thoroughbred races at Emerald Downs. First post is 5 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Nicole Suyama performed Friday’s national anthem while between races entertainment featured the Black Lodge Singers, Nez Perce Horse Riders and hoop dancer Ryan Yellowjohn.
Results from Friday’s qualifying heats:
Heat 1: 1st Omak Express (Tyler Peasley rider), Omak, WA, 3:41.65; 2nd Counting Coup/Pikuni Express (Narsis Reevis), Browning, MT, 3:44.55; 3rd River Road (Tristan Birding Ground), Crow Agency, MT, 3:46.58; 4th Cayuse Express (Dreamer Best), Nespalem, WA, 3:51.25; 5th Little Badger (Justin Burd), Browning, MT, 3:57.22; Grizzly Mountain (dnf).
Heat 2: 1st Two Medicine (Cody Carlson rider), Browning Mt, 3:35.37; 2nd Abrahamson (Scotty Abrahamson), Omak, WA, 3:37.34; 3rd Carlson Relay (Chazz Racine), Browning, MT, 3:37.92; 4th Black Rock Relay (Blayne Deroche), Browning MT, 3:56.84; 5th Long Feather (Jace Long Feather), Browning MT, 4:10.45; Starr School (dnf).
Heat 3: 1st Strong Horse Relay (Mathew Pakootas Jr. rider), Nespalem, WA; 2nd Amskapi Pikunii (Chris Carlson), Browning, MT; 3rd Lakota Warpath (Tory Provost), Oglala, SD; 4th Frontline Relay (Daniel Goodface), Crow Creek, SD; 5th S/M Express (Desmond Archilita), Lodge Grass, MT; Teton (dnf).
Saturday’s Qualifying Heats
Heat 1: 5:40 p.m. (after Emerald Downs Race 2)
Heat 2: 6:58 p.m. (after Emerald Downs Race 4)
Heat 3: 8:16 p.m. (after Emerald Downs Race 6)