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Kooky Saluk takes the $40,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic crown | Emerald Downs

Kooky Saluki & jockey Javier Matias prevail in the $40,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic for 3-year-olds and up at Emerald Downs. Jim Penney is the trainer for MOH Stables Inc. - Photo courtesy Reed Palmer/Emerald Downs Photo
Kooky Saluki & jockey Javier Matias prevail in the $40,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic for 3-year-olds and up at Emerald Downs. Jim Penney is the trainer for MOH Stables Inc.
— image credit: Photo courtesy Reed Palmer/Emerald Downs Photo

Kooky Saluki continued his rapid improvement Sunday and took down the biggest prize as Emerald Downs presented Washington Cup X, six stakes races for Washington-breds worth $215,000 in prize money.

Winning his third straight race and his first stakes race, Kooky Saluki overhauled Our Eagle Boy into the stretch and held off Couldabenthwhisky and Jebrica for a three-quarter-length victory in the $40,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic for 3-year-olds and up.

Ridden by Javier Matias at 120 lbs, Kooky Saluki ran 1-1/16 miles in 1:41.51 on a fast track and paid $8.80 and $3.60. There was no show wagering.

The winner, a 4-year-old gelding by Tribunal-Just an Angel, was bred by Rene Larrabee and trained by Jim Penney.

Overall, Kooky Saluki is 5-2-1 in 13 starts with earnings of $71,046 for MOH Stables, the nom de course for Dan Lewis of Sammamish, the well-known news anchor at KOMO-TV.

“It’s the biggest race I’ve ever won and the first stakes I’ve ever won, and I’ve owned horses for about 10 or 12 years,” Lewis said in the winner’s circle.

With Matias riding his meet-leading seventh stakes winner, Kooky Saluki, whose previous two wins were in $32,000 claiming races, waited patiently as Our Eagle Boy led through fractions of :24.47, :47.70 and 1:10.97. The gelding Saluki gained command into the lane and from there it was a four-horse cavalry charge to the wire with Kooky Saluki clearly best.

“This is my first time riding him, so I looked at a couple replays and saw that he always tries really hard,” Matias said. “At the three-eighths pole, I looked back and saw two horses coming. I started to ask him at the quarter-pole and he gave me everything. I am very impressed with his run.”

Couldabenthewhisky nosed out Jebrica for second place, and Jebrica finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Our Eagle Boy.

Jebrica, the 4-to-5 betting favorite, also is trained by Penney, who finished the day tied for first all-time with six WA Cup wins.

“We always thought (Kooky Saluki) would be a useful horse, and we expected him to improve at a route of ground,” Penney said. “To win a stakes like this, that’s the top end of our expectations.”

Since switching from sprints to routes, Kooky Saluki is 3-0-1 in five starts with earnings of $40,852.

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