Sunday, July 21, 2013

Now it’s time to Take A Break: Toth, Quake win 100-mile Tevis Cup

Re-posted from Roseville and Granite Bay Press Tribune

After a hard day of work on an uber-hot Western States Trail, Quake received the ultimate reward: a fistful of carrots.

And after galloping for 100 miles in just under 17 hours, the 8-year-old chestnut gelding devoured his victory treats in a matter of seconds.

Rusty Toth, the man aboard Quake, was quick to deflect credit for winning this year’s Tevis Cup in a time of 16 hours, 57 minutes.

“It’s all about the horse,” Toth said of his steed, also known as Take A Break. “He did it — not me.”

Toth and Quake never held the lead throughout the ride that started at 5:15 a.m. until it mattered most.

With five miles to go until the official finish line at the Auburn Overlook, the winning duo took advantage of their window of opportunity.

Toth, who won the Haggin Cup last year after a fourth-place finish, described the win as amazing.

“Last year I won Haggin, so this is the icing on the cake, I guess,” he added. “It’s a pretty amazing feeling to come here and win this. I never ever, ever dreamed I’d win this ride.”

Toth, who lives in Durango, Colo., isn’t used to temperatures that exceed 90 degrees. While riding up the El Dorado Canyon, he pointed out that it was 108 degrees at the bottom.

“It slowed me down quite a bit,” he said of the sweltering weather.

The same went for the rest of the field

At 6:18 p.m., the Tevis Cup's official Twitter account tweeted, "Due to the extreme heat, all cut off times except for the finish line at 5:15 (a.m.) have been extended by 15 minutes.”

One horse had to be put to sleep during the endurance event, according to the official Tevis Cup Facebook page.

“The Tevis unfortunately had a fall accident today with horse and rider #140, last name Williams,” a post on the fan page said. “The horse fell, not far off of Cougar Rock and sustained a serious neck injury. The rider was not injured. A veterinarian attended to the horse. The horse’s injuries left no option but to euthanize. The Tevis regrets this unfortunate accident; however, it was just that – an accident.”

Horse No. 140, Diamond Ruler L, was being ridden by Kelly Williams of Penryn.

“It was a fall accident,” said Ride Director Chuck Stalley. “A seasoned rider and a seasoned horse. Horse rescue was caring for the horse for three hours.

“…Very unfortunate. Our hearts go out to the owner of the horse and the family. It’s a difficult ride.”

Jennifer Waitte of Yountville, who held the lead for a majority of the afternoon, finished second at 10:29 p.m. along with third-place finisher Jenni Smith of Moraga. Both reached the finish 17 minutes after Toth.

Christoph Schork of Utah was fourth and Colorado’s Kevin Myer fifth.

Auburn’s Hal Hall, seeking his 3,000-mile buckle, was in 24th place at press time.

Barbara White of Scotts Valley, who has a record 32 finishes, was pulled at Foresthill because of surface factors.

Penyrn’s Shellie Hatfield, chasing her 1,000-mile buckle, was pulled at Foresthill by her own choice.

Starting at Robie Park near Squaw Valley, 160 riders took off with the goal of trying to reach Auburn within 24 hours. Late Saturday night 68 riders had already been pulled from the ride.

Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter@matthewkimel

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