Strong Horse Relay places third at Gold Cup

Five Colville relay teams compete at Muckleshoot Gold Cup, running at Emerald Downs in Auburn; two teams make it to the championship race on Sunday

AUBURN, Wash – The winner of year’s Muckleshoot Gold Cup Championship Race would be awarded with a $10,000 first-place check.

For two Colville teams, it would be their opportunity to cash in as Omak Express and Strong Horse Relay both earned a spot in this year’s title race at Emerald Downs on Sunday (Sept. 12) afternoon.

Omak Express has been here before as they made it to the championship race in 2019, placing seventh but for Strong Horse Relay, this would be their first time in the title race.

As the race got underway, just seconds in Tyler Peasley (Colville tribal member) jockey for Omak Express avoided a near disaster situation. The relay team, Two Medicine had to re-line themselves up again as they had drifted down past the starting line and as they were heading back to the starting line, the horn went off and they would end up turning back around, in the process running into Omak Express to start out the race.

Peasley was able to weather the blow keeping his horse upright and staying on as he began picking up speed going around the first corner starting out in third place as the field made their way and to the back stretch for the first set of exchanges.

For the races at Emerald Down, each team uses four horses, with three total exchanges and with each running a half mile after an exchange of horses where the jockey must jump off one horse and get aboard the next horse.

Peasley’s first exchange went smoothly all the way until end. Just as he left his box area, he had collided with Carlson Relay, sending him toppling over the head of his horse. In just seconds Peasley’s horse had galloped away and with it the hopes of bringing home this year’s Gold Cup.

Strong Horse Relay’s first exchange was also smooth as Jockey Matthew Pakootas Jr., (Colville tribal member) was able to guide his horse into the exchange area with no collisions and was able to get out of the box area within eight seconds.

In their second exchange, Pakootas Jr. had another smooth quick exchange, taking around seven seconds for the whole process and around seven seconds for the third and final exchange as they would go on to finish third in the championship race.

Omak Express would end up being disqualified in the championship race as they had lost one of the horses during the first exchange.

Strong Horse Relay – Jockey: Matthew Pakootas Jr. Holder #1: Matthew Pakkotas Sr. Holder #2: Tiny Williams. Holder #3: PJ Pakootas. Mugger #1: Ahe Grunlose. Mugger #2: Chris Williams.

Omak Express – Jockey: Tyler Peasley. Holder #1: John Pakootas. Holder #2: Josiah Desautel. Holder #3: Martin Abrahamson; Mugger #1: Virgil Tonasket: Mugger #2: Jimmy Marchand.

Omak Express placed first on Friday night and fourth on Saturday night in their respective heats. Strong Horse Relay placed first on Friday night and had DNF (did not finish) on Saturday in their respective heats leading up to the championship race.

The three-day event featured some of the top Indian relay teams in the nation, 18 teams representing tribes from Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota competed at this year’s Gold Cup, which paid out a total of $65,000 in prize money.

Abrahamson Relay with jockey Scott Abrahamson would on to win the second consolation race on Sunday afternoon. They placed second on Friday night in Heat 2 and placed third on Saturday in heat 1.

Cayuse Express with jockey Dreamer Best placed sixth in the second consolation race on Sunday afternoon and Grizzly Mountain with jockey Oliver Pakootas placed fourth in the first consolation race.

Results from Championship Sunday races:

Heat 3 – Muckleshoot Gold Cup

1st Amskapi Pikunii (Chris Carlson rider), Browning MT, 3:40:76

2nd Carlson Relay (Chazz Racine), Browning, MT, 3:41.26

3rd Two Medicine (Cody Carlson), Browning, MT

4th Strong Horse Relay (Mathew Pakootas, Jr.), Nespelem, WA

DQ Omak Express (Tyler Peasley), Omak, WA

DQ S/M Express (Desmond Archilita), Lodge Grass, MT

Heat 2 – Second Consolation

1st Abrahamson Relay (Scotty Abrahamson rider), Omak, WA, 3:35.46

2nd Little Badger (Justin Burd), Browning, MT

3rd Counting Coup/Pikuni Express (Narsis Reevis), Browning, MT

4th Black Rock Relay (Blayne DeRoche), Browning MT

5th Lakota Warpath (Tory Provost), Oglala, SD

6th Cayuse Express (Dreamer Best), Nespelem, WA

Heat 1 – First Consolation

1st Teton (Clarence Teton rider), Lincoln Creek, ID , 3:41.98

2nd Starr School (Preston Butterfly), Starr School, MT

3rd Frontline Relay (Daniel Goodface), Crow Creek, SD

4th Grizzly Mountain (Oliver Pakootas), Omak, WA

DQ River Road (Tory Provost), Oglala, SD

DQ Long Feather (Jace Long Feather), Fort Yates, ND

Results from Saturday’s qualifying heats:

Heat 1:

1st: Amskapi Pikunii (Chris Carlson rider), Browning MT, 3:35.17; 2nd: Black Rock Relay (Blayne DeRoche), Browning MT, 3:39.31; 3rd: Abrahamson Relay (Scotty Abrahamson), Omak, WA, 3:39.99; 4th: Omak Express (Tyler Peasley), Omak, WA, 3:40.03; 5th: Frontline Relay (Daniel Goodface), Crow Creek, SD, 4:14.09; Strong Horse Relay (DNF).

Heat 2:

1st: Carlson Relay (Chazz Racine rider), Browning, MT, 3:38.17; 2nd: Little Badger (Justin Burd), Browning, MT, 3:40.67; 3rd: Cayuse Express (Dreamer Best), 3:43.45; 4th: Starr School (Preston Butterfly), Starr School, MT; 3:52.38; River Road (DNF); Teton (DNF).

Heat 3:

1st: S/M Express (Desmond Archilita rider), Lodge Grass, MT, 3:42.26; 2nd: Two Medicine (Cody Carlson), Browning, MT, 3:43.26; 3rd: Long Feather (Jace Long Feather), Fort Yates, ND, 3:46.59; 4th: Counting Coup/Pikuni Express (Narsis Reevis), Browning, MT, 3:55.90; 5th Lakota Warpath (Tory Provost), Oglala, SD, 3:56.59; Grizzly Mountain (DNF)

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 Relay (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. 3:46.81; 2nd: Amskapi Pikunii (Chris Carlson), Browning, MT, 3:47.69; 3rd: Lakota Warpath (Tory Provost), Oglala, SD, 3:55.51; 4th: Frontline Relay (Daniel Goodface), Crow Creek, SD, 3:58.66; 5th: S/M Express (Desmond Archilita), Lodge Grass, MT, 4:10.98; Teton (DNF)

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