OMAK Spade trumped Lonesome in a jackpot race Sunday for horses qualified for this year’s 82nd World-Famous Suicide Race.
There are 19 horses ready for the World-Famous Suicide Races that start Thursday and continue after each performance of the Omak Stampede rodeo, which wraps up Sunday.
If more than 20 horses had passed all tests and entered, runoff races would have occurred Sunday under rules of the Owners and Jockeys Association, which puts on the race.
But with 19 horses (under the maximum of 20), only seven opted to race for a $1,500 purse split to the top three.
In the jackpot race, the field burst over the Suicide Race hill with Lonesome (which started in the No. 7 spot on the outside of the field) and Spade leading the way.
The same two reached the bottom of the hill and leaped together into the Okanogan River, which is still a bit high but navigable.
From there Lonesome, owned by George Marchand and ridden by Tarren Meusy, headed upriver, pushing in the same direction as Spade, owned by Shantana Pakootas and ridden by Loren Marchand.
“When we started swimming I wanted to go straight, but he pushed me upstream,” Loren Marchand said.
About that time Loren Marchand spotted his brother, Francis Marchand on Red Cloud (owned by PJ and Lacy Pakootas), coming toward the duo.
All three horses were attempting to take the shortest route across the river, which is still high enough to force horses to swim about a third of the way across before hitting bottom.
“We were paddling there for a while in that deep spot,” said Loren Marchand of the hole at the base of the hill.
As the horses exited the river, Loren Marchand grabbed the reins of Lonesome, which helped pull Spade into the lead along the shore.
Meusy responded with a couple quick smacks with a riding crop to Loren Marchand’s back.
“I gave the reins a little tug and made my move right there,” Loren Marchand said.
Red Cloud, which found a bar in the river and started making up ground, finished third.
Spade was one of the more experience horses in the jackpot race, finishing in a tie for second (8 points) last year in the final Suicide Race standings with jockey Tyler Peasley, who was severely injured in a fall Saturday night.
Mufasa (owned by Zane Marchand and ridden by Riley Prescott) tied for seventh with four points.
Jockey BeauDean Adolph was bumped off Red Cloud on Saturday last year. This year Adolph is riding Spirit, owned by Milo Pakootas Sr.
This was Loren Marchand’s first time racing Spade on the Suicide Race course.
But he did race Spade to second place behind Mufasa at the Fourth of July Rodeo in Vale, Ore., this summer.
An online video shows Spade and Mufasa were neck-and-neck entering water near the finish line before Mufasa pulled away to win in the cross-country race of about a mile that includes a long, rocky downhill stretch.
“It was good for me to get a feel for him before the big show,” Loren Marchand said. “Vale is about a mile on rough terrain. It’s way tougher than this (Omak’s Suicide Race).
“He (Spade) came off nice,” Loren Marchand said of the start. “He’s smooth. I could go a lot faster, but I was up there in front.”
After Vale, Loren Marchand headed to Montana for relay racing.
Montana Pakootas raced Spade at the Elgin Stampede Challenge Horse Race on July 8.
“I had an accident,” said Montana Pakootas, who sports a neck brace after suffering his fourth broken neck racing horses. “Spade was fine. Loren has been training him ever since.
“When you race horses, it’s hard to get out of the business,” Montana Pakootas said. “I believe in Spade (which has been raced for three years). I’m really proud of the Pakootas Family sponsoring the horse. It feels good to be all family. I love the support. Thanks, Pakootas Racing.”
Audrey Seymour of Inchelium, the lone woman competing, finished last in the seven-horse field, but she was competitive.
“I like it, it’s fun,” said Seymour as she watched two young children. “Like I tell these guys, all they can do is go for it. You never know how things will go, just keep trying, even if you fail.”
She said the youngsters’ dreams were to be in Indian relay races.
Seymour’s background includes 4-H horse events, but more importantly growing up on her grandfather’s (Clell Toulou) Black Angus Ranch at Kewa south of Inchelium.
“I was riding, chasing cows,” she said.
As for her showing Sunday, she now knows to bring spurs, which she left behind Sunday.
“I was kicking about as hard as I could,” she said to get Wind Walker to go faster. “I rode him sideways in the river.
“I’m going to keep trying (to win). Hopefully, I do better and better.”
Points in the World-Famous Suicide Race go to the top five finishers – five points for first, four points for second, three points for third, two points for fourth and one point for fifth.
The horse with the most points after the fourth race Sunday is declared the overall winner of the Suicide Race.
Eagle Boy, owned by George Marchand and ridden by Scott Abrahamson, won last year’s title.
Eagle Boy tied with Taz, owned by Jim Phillips and ridden by Loren Marchand, in 2015.
Taz retired in 2016 after he and Loren Marchand won seven titles.
Jackpot race results (place, horse, owner, jockey, bib number): 1, Spade, Shantana Pakootas, Loren Marchand, 4.
2, Lonesome, George Marchand, Tarren Meusy, 7.
3, Red Cloud, PJ and Lacy Pakootas, Francis Marchand, 6.
4, Snow Walker, Jeff and Shawnee Ford Redbones, Danny Trevino, 2.
5, Mufasa, Zane Marchand, Riley Prescott, 5.
6, Sundance, Ricky Gabriel, Dominic LaPlante, 1.
7, Wind Walker, Albert and Marilee Seymour, Audrey Seymour, 3.
World-Famous qualified entries (horse, owner, jockey):
Amp, Milo Pakootas Sr., Milo Pakootas Jr.
Bo Shay, Angel Vargas, Gabe Moses.
Bugz, Louie Castro, Levi Brotherton.
Candy Man, Chuck and Suzie McKinney, Steven Zacherle.
Eagle Boy, George Marchand, Scott Abrahamson.
Jackpot, Bronson Peterson, Edward Marchand.
Jake, Tom Best, Tyler Peasley.
Jinx, Jeff and Jerry Ford Redbones, Dakota Ford.
Lonesome, George Marchand, Tarren Meusy.
Mufasa, Zane Marchand, Riley Prescott.
Onyx, Shawnnae and Oliver Pakootas, Oliver Pakootas.
Snow Walker, Jeff and Shawnee Ford Redbones, Danny Trevino.
Red Cloud, PJ and Lacy Pakootas, Francis Marchand.
Spade, Shantana Pakootas, Loren Marchand.
Spirit, Milo Pakootas Sr., BeauDean Adolph.
Sundance, Ricky Gabriel, Dominic LaPlante.
Wicked, Alice Desautel, Josiah Desautel.
Wind Walker, Albert and Marilee Seymour, Audrey Seymour.
Woosta, Blake Marchand, Mathew Pakootas Jr.
Last year’s final points finishers (unofficial with place, horse, owner, jockey, sponsor):
1, Eagle Boy, George Marchand, Scott Abrahamson, Flowers and Sons LLC., 14 points.
2—4, tie, Spade, Montana Pakootas, Tyler Peasley, Sunflower Graphics; SKARTAR, Ryan Cate, Ryan Cate, Stan Carter Construction, and Jackpot, Bronson Peterson, Edward Marchand, Peterson Family, 8.
5, AMP, Milo Pakootas Sr., Josh Cate, Willie Womer, 6.
6, Woosta, Blake Marchand, Loren Marchand, Herriman Speedy Tank.
7-8, Mufasa, Zane Marchand, Riley Prescott, and Lariat, Charles McKinney, Tarren Meusy. 4.
9, Bugz, Louie Castro, Alex McCraigie, Keaton Construction, 2.
10, Wind Walker, Albert and Marilee Seymour, Henry LaCourse, 1.