Thunder, Eagle Boy claim runoff race firsts
OMAK – A huge field of 33 horses competed in two runoff races Sunday, Aug. 4, to qualify for this weekend’s 84th World-Famous Suicide Race.
The Owners and Jockeys Association, which puts on the race, requires the final field to be no bigger than 20 horses for the races competed after each Omak Stampede rodeo Aug. 8-11.
The first race sent 16 horses across the course, which includes a steep hill to the Okanogan River and up a ramp to the Omak Stampede Arena.
Six riders did not finish after three horses stumbled at the bottom of the hill and took out three other horses.
“Yesterday’s elimination races were quick,” said Owners and Jockeys President Pete Palmer. “There were a couple of spills, but no horses were seriously injured.
“A few jockeys got some pretty good scrapes and bruises, but they are tough. One jockey got a ride in the ambulance to be checked out at the hospital. Luckily, nothing was broken except his heart because he did not qualify.”
Mathew Pakootas Jr., who was riding near the front on Grey Dogg, went to the hospital.
Most of the jockeys who were off their mounts managed to walk across the river.
“The first heat was won by a new horse, Thunder, and a new jockey, Terrence Holford from Inchelium,” said Palmer. “Like Scott Abrahamson (four-time winner on Eagle Boy), Terrence also competes in the Indian Relay Races.”
Thunder managed to stay in front of the fray that occurred right behind him entering the Okanogan River. The horse is owned by Casey and Traci Nissen.
Black Shaw, with jockey Riley Prescott, was not quite as lucky, taking a couple hits from behind as it was attempting to leap into the river.
The horse, owned by David Palmer, pulled out a second place finish.
“The King of the Hill, Scott (Abrahamson) and Eagle Boy came across the finish line with an easy win in the second heat,” said Palmer.
Only three riders lost their mounts in the second race, which went off with 17 horses.
Four-time defending champion Eagle Boy and jockey Scott Abrahamson, which were race favorites after $630 was bid in the Calcutta, made its win in the second race look easy.
The horse broke about a length back at the top of the hill, passed the leaders and was a couple lengths in front near the shore after swimming the Okanogan River.
“My horse has a tendency to upriver,” said Abrahamson. “I was trying to point him using the pine tree (on the bank).
“I was able to save him for Thursday. He ran a good race. I didn’t use the whip up the dike.”
Low water this year makes it tough to transition at the bottom of the hill into the river, which is less than five feet deep at the bottom of the hill.
“We had a good start, just got too far upriver,” said Edward Marchand who rode Jackpot, which received the second most Calcutta money ($200). “So I took the safest route.”
“I get to come back this weekend,” said a jubilant Andrew Whiteman of Browning, Mont. “It was fun. I wish my horse got off to a better start.”
The horse, Dirty Dan, is owned by Casey Nissen, and was in the 16th and next to last starting spot on the hill near the starter.
When the starting gun was fired, Dirty Dan scurried to one side and not directly toward the hill.
Whiteman is from the Black Feet tribe and is familiar with many of the race jockeys who compete at his tribe’s Indian relays.
“I’ve been doing the relays since I was 14,” said Whiteman, 29.
The Moses family donated to the 20 that made the starting field a jacket for owners and sweatshirts for jockeys.
“They are in memory of Yvonne Moses, who was a huge supporter of the race,” said Palmer.
If any of the 20 horses fails to pass a vet check or pulls out before the Thursday race, horses will be added one at a time from an alternate list (1-4) to fill the starting field, said Palmer.
“If we add an alternate Thursday that will be the final field,” said Palmer. “No more will be added in after vet checks Thursday night.”
Aubrey Seymour, the long female jockey who raced Sunday, is No. 2 on the alternate list with her horse, Wind Walker.
Two horses would have to pull out or fail a vet check for her to race Thursday.
Final Suicide Race field of 20
(horse, jockey, owner)
Augustus, Loren Marchand, Loren Marchand, Mike and Sheri Jones
Big Man, no jockey listed, Doug Seymour
Black Shay, Riley Prescott, David Palmer
Blur, Josiah Desautel, Tim Holt/Tyler Peasley
Dale, Josh Harry, John Pakootas Sr.
Digger, Daniel Trevino, Daniel Trevino
Dirty Dan, Andrew Whiteman, Casey Nissen
Duranimal, Chance Carson, Marchand Stables
Eagle Boy, Scott Abrahamson, Scott Abrahamson
Houdini, Jim Best, Jim Best/Ivory Ford
Jackpot, Edward Marchand, Bronson Peterson
Julio, Gabriel Moses, Annette Moses
Lonesome, Tarren Meusy, George Marchand
Mufasa, Steven Ford, Zane Marchand
Onyx, Oliver Pakootas, Shawnnae and Oliver Pakootas
Redline, Jasper Abrahamson, Jake Taylor
Schitzo Lenny, Francis Marchand, Lacy and PJ Pakootas
Spirit, Josh Harry, Milo Pakootas
Thunder, Terrence Holford, Casey and Traci Nissen
Warbonnet, Josh Cate, Lacy and PJ Pakootas.
Chief, Conner Picking, Louie Castro
Wind Walker, Audrey Seymour, Audrey Seymour
Dillinger, Henry LaCourse, Kevin LaCourse
Chisum, Rich Terbasket, Skeeter and Rich Terbasket
Sunday runoff No. 1 results
1, Thunder, Terrence Holford, Casey and Traci Nissen
2, Black Shay, Riley Prescott, David Palmer
3, Big Man, Francis Marchand, Doug Seymour
4, Duranimal, Chance Carson, Smoker, Anne, Zoe Marchand (Marchand Stables)
Sunday runoff No. 2 results
1, Eagle Boy, Scott Abrahamson, Scott Abrahamson
2, Augustus Loren Marchand, Loren Marchand/Mike and Sheri Jones
3, Onyx, Oliver Pakootas, Shawnnae and Oliver Pakootas
4, Blur, Josiah Desautel, Tim Holt/Tyler Peasley