Ranch horses, ponies race for glory during Derby Day at the 100th Moffat County Fair | CraigDailyPress.com

Ranch horses, ponies race for glory during Derby Day at the 100th Moffat County Fair

CRAIG — It was a race to the finish on the last day of the 100th Moffat County Fair, as ponies and ranch horses took to the track for the inaugural Derby Day races.

Ranch horses started by walking from west to the east on the straightaway. Once all four feet of both horses crossed a chalked starting line on the far east side of the track — about a quarter mile from the finish line in front of the grandstands — the starter dropped his flag, and the race was on. Riders had to spin their horses around and race back down the straightaway.

The race was run in heats that alternated between horses and ponies. The animals with the best times won.

Once the dust had cleared, JD Slagowski, riding Cena, was $450 richer after placing second in the ranch horse race. Joe Wood and his horse, Spud, pocketed $1,000 for their first-place finish.

The pony races were a little shorter and “a little more western,” said announcer Jace Smith, as some of the ponies bucked and kicked their way down the dirt track.

Some entrants, such as Deana Wood, rode multiple mounts. In the pony races, she won first place on Oreo and second place on Tonto, taking home a total of $250 in prize money.

At the end of the races, Smith thanked the fair board for putting up the prize money and the riders for racing, and invited the crowd to prepare for next year.

“I’d like to see 50 horses racing next time,” he said.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

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