Truckee to Auburn: Tevis Cup horse race draws more than 130 riders

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The first horses came trotting into McCann Stadium in Auburn late Saturday night, reaching the finish line after 100 miles of riding.

Gabriela Blakeley captured this year’s Tevis Cup title, finishing the ride that took riders from Truckee to Auburn in 17 hours, 9 minutes.

Blakeley, out of Terrebonne, Oregon rode a 13-year-old gelding Arabian named Pyro. It is her first time winning the Tevis Cup. She finished second in 2017. 

“My family, they really supported me through the amazing week,” said Blakeley. “We found out last minute and they were like we think Pyro is ready and just go for it … We had a great ride and we want to thank the volunteers.”

Blakely’s daughter, Sanoma Blakeley, won in 2019, but had to pull her horse at the 50-mile mark.

Christoph Schork finished in second place. He left Truckee on his Arabian Blizzard of Ozz at 5:15 a.m. and reached Auburn at 10:48 p.m. 

Shork, who came in second place last year on Blizzard of Ozz, was named winner of this year’s Haggin Cup. The award is given to the rider whose horse reaches the finish line in the most superior physical condition.

“I’m extremely happy,” said Schork. “It’s an awesome day for me and Ozzy. I love working with him. He’s full of it, dragging me around even after 100 miles and well, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Dante LaPierre, of Halliday, North Dakota, finished in third place, reaching Auburn on her Arabian Dennie at 10:48 p.m.

The area’s lone representative, Phyllis Keller, was 22 miles from the finish line on her Arabian Curious George but was pulled due to being over time.

Of the 131 riders that entered the event, 72 were unable to reach the finish line by the 24-hour cutoff.

Saturday’s race also had a trio of incidents, one of which resulted in the death of a horse. The other two incidents happened near the end of the race. One horse was airlifted to safety and is under veterinary supervision, while the other is reportedly resting at home. None of the riders were seriously injured.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of a horse and very concerned that we had three separate accidents this year,” said Tevis Cup Ride Director Chuck Stalley and Head Veterinarian Mike Peralez in a joint statement. “(The Western States Trail Foundation) Board of Governors will dedicate time, resources, and money to figuring out what happened in these incidents.” 

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