An onlooker at trackside was bubbling enthusiastically. Another one commented on the conditioning and toughness of the riders. Still another shook his head, a bit awed.
Seasoned riders were not fooled in the least. “It’s a lot tougher than it looks,’’ said jockey Chamisa Goodwin.
The subject at hand was Indian Relay Racing, a three-mile test on three different horses that looks more like organized chaos at times than horse racing
But it is just that_ horse racing, bareback, on painted horses ridden by painted riders and the result is a colorful, exciting.
The second night of racing was greeted with the same interest and enthusiasm as Thursday’s presentation. The only complaints seemed to be from individuals not fully prepared for the unseasonable cold that continued for a second day.
Forecasts promise something much more comfortable for today’s season-closing card as well as the final day of relay racing.
Just as he had on Thursday night, Jefferson used his speedy miler to establish what was again an insurmountable advantage and set up easy final legs for his sprinters.
Each rider has three horses, one for each mile of the race.
Jefferson, 20, is a from Lodge Grass, Montana and has been relay racing about five years. He used the same horses in the same order on Friday that he used successful in his heat on Thursday.
“My fastest one is the first one,’’ he explained, “and can cover a lot of ground. The other two are more 5 ½ or 6 furlong horses. Makes sense. Use the swift miler to build a lead, making it possible to take it easy on the second and third horses.
Jefferson is a member of the Crow tribe and rides for the Holds the Enemy team.
Joshn Thompson, 26, of the Shoshone-Bannock won the second heat of the evening as easily as Jefferson had his.
The native of Lincoln Creek, Idaho, started his bid on a horse named Big Red. “Pure speed,’’ he said. His second mount was more of a distance horse and No. 3, a mare named Rosie was a bit of each.
$200,000 MYSTIC LAKE DERBY
Canterbury’s richest race of the summer, naturally, has attracted shipins considered the horses to beat in what shapes up as a 12-horse field for mile event on the turf.
Put up 200 grand and barns not normally associated with Shakopee take interest.
Long on Value, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, appears the horse to beat in this one, even though he hasn’t won for more than a year. Nonetheless, he has been running in tough company at Arlington Park, Belmont Park and Saratoga .
Aryle Cut is another shipper. Trained by Bill Morey, he, too, has been running against bigger boys, in this case on the West Coast.
Then there is Afortable, a Fort Prado colt from Arlington Park trained by Chris Block. General Jack, winner of last year’s Shakopee Juvenile, returns under conditioner Mike Maker for a stab at the three-year-old Canterbury prize.
JOCKEY, TRAINER TITLES UP FOR GRABS
On Thursday night defending champion Dean Butler rode three winners to take a one-win lead in the rider standings. Friday, Ry Eikleberry scored the hat trick to pull in front by two in front of Butler and Alex Canchari, who had one winner Friday.
Two way battles at the end of a meet are not uncommon. Three-way tangles are simply unheard of.
Stay tuned. It gets sorted out today, closing day.
So too will the trainer’s title. Mac Robertson, winner of the last 10 titles, had one winner Friday. Robertino Diodoro had two and trails by one.
BY JIM WELLS