Emerald Downs Wrap-Friday, June 14

Smokemonthecliff and jockey Alex Cruz draw clear


AUBURN, Wash. (June 14, 2024) – Smokemonthecliff wore down the leaders late for a 1 ¾-length victory in Friday’s $13,500 Muckleshoot Casino Purse at Emerald Downs.

Ridden by Alex Cruz, the winner covered six furlongs in 1:10.44 and paid $5.70 as the second betting choice in a field of seven older fillies and mares. Scott Tubbs is the trainer for owners Alex Ortega Jr. and Vincent Ortega of Tucson, Arizona.

Saving ground on the turn, Smokemonthecliff circled the field into the lane, collared Hot Lava Cake past mid-stretch and drew clear for the victory, the second from nine career starts for the 4-year-old Smokem filly.

Yogya, the 7 to 5 betting favorite, rallied to finish second with Seeyamia, Hot Lava Cake, Parker’s Fifteen, She’s a Kraken, and Ask Alice rounding out the order of finish.

Poitras Relay prevails in Heat 1


In addition to seven live Thoroughbred races, Friday’s action co-featured opening night of the 2024 Muckleshoot Gold Cup Indian Relay Races.

The seventh annual three-day competition features 21teams from five states and two provinces competing in nine total races culminating with Sunday’s championship $10,000 Muckleshoot Gold Cup.
In Friday’s races, Poitras Relay, Omak Express, and Sp’q’n’i Relay each won qualifiers placing each in prime position to reach Sunday’s Gold Cup.

Poitras Relay of the Saulteaux Nation in Saskatchewan, Canada, posted the evening’s fastest time of 3:31.00 for two miles in wining Heat 1 with Jay Peeaychew riding. Defending champion Two Medicine of the Blackfeet Nation in Browning, MT, finished fifth in the second heat and needs a big race Saturday to qualify for the final.

Omak Express, the 2022 champions, edged Mountain Crow Relay to win Heat 2 in 3:31.62 while Sp’q’n’i Relay of the Spokane Nation prevailed in Heat 3 with Riley Prescott riding.
Action continues Saturday with three more qualifiers following Emerald Downs’ races two, four, and six.

Results of Friday’s qualifying heats:

Heat 1: 1st Poitras Relay (Jay Peeaychew rider), Meadowlake, Saskatachewan, 3:31.00; 2nd Abrahamson Relay (Scott Abrahamson), Omak, WA, 3:32.25; 3rd Birdinground Relay (Tristan Birdinground), Crow Agency, MT, 3:33.43; 4th Rock Relay (Ashton Old Elk), Hardin, MT, 3:42.83; 5th Cedar Ridge (Jorge Galloway) Fort Hall, ID, 3:53.75 6th Dancing Warrior (Kaden Brings Plenty), Pine Ridge, SD; 7th Arrow Lakes (Ryder Abrahamson), Inchelium, WA, 4:01.83.

Heat 2: 1st Omak Express (Tyler Peasley), Omak, WA, 3:31.62; 2nd Mountain Crow Relay (Alvah Curlew), Crow Agency, MT, 3:32.47; 3rd Teton (Miaus Teton), Lincoln Creek, ID, 3:37.26; 4th Tissidimit (Azeri Coby), Fort Hall, ID, 3:37.63; 5th Two Medicine (Jesse Carlson), Browning, MT, 3:38.16; 6th Strong Horse Relay (Matthew Pakootas Jr.) Nespelem, WA, 3:39.05; 7th Grizzly Mountain (Francis Marchand), Omak, WA, 3:49.87.

Heat 3: 1st Sp’q’n’i Relay (Riley Prescott), Wellpinit, WA, 3:36.43; 2nd Amskapi Pikunii (Ian Big Tobacco), Browning, MT; 3:37.25; 3rd Carlson Relay (Chazz Racine), Browning, MT, 3:38.86; 4th Old Sun (Vincent Bertelson), Siksika, AK, 3:40.97; 5th Starr School (Tahj Little Plume), Browning, MT, 3:48.90; 6th River Road Relay (Coty Brown), Crow Agency, MT; 7th Buffalo Jump Express (Chris Carlson), Browning, MT, 4:24.03.

Saturday’s Heat Schedule
Heat 1 – 2:08 p.m. (after Emerald Downs Race 2)
Heat 2 – 3:26 p.m. (after Emerald Downs Race 4)
Heat 3 – 4:45 p.m. (after Emerald Downs Race 6)

Muckleshoot Gold Cup Winners
2023: Two Medicine
2022: Omak Express
2021: Amskapi Pikunii
2020: cancelled Covid
2019: River Road Relay
2018: Abrahamson
2017: Starr School
2016: Carlson

NOTES: Alex Cruz rode two winners, upping his meet-leading total to 17. . .Theuntouchableone ($4.48) took race six and Blaine Wright moved atop the trainers’ standings with 13 wins. . .Lie and Deny ($5.70) became the fifth two-time winner at the meet and gave Rocco Bowen his first win of the season, rallying past Handr’sdream to win race three. . .Bowen currently is second at Thistledown with 27 wins. . .Jockey Karlo Lopez served a one-day suspension Friday while Allyssa Morales serves a one-day suspension Sunday. . .Juan Gutierrez has won on his last three mounts for Rigoberto Velasquez including Friday’s win aboard Pass the Crown ($14.14). . .Racing continues Saturday with a 1:30 p.m. post, featuring eight races and day two of the 2024 Muckleshoot Gold Cup Indian Relay Races.