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Solar, Klimek thrive at sunny Donida Farm
Solar and rider/trainer Chesna Klimek were the big winners Saturday in the 100-Day Trainer Challenge Competition at Donida Farm in east Auburn.
The 100-Day Trainer Challenge Competition was one of the featured events at the Thoroughbred and Half-Thoroughbred Horse Show, held before a large crowd on a picture-perfect afternoon.
Solar and Klimek took first place in two of three divisions – in-hand and a 3½-minute freestyle competition – and racked up 18 points to defeat their four competitors and earn the $1,000 first prize.
The five Challenge horses – two geldings, two fillies and one mare – all raced at Emerald Downs and were provided by Emerald Downs owners and trainers, who will receive a share of the proceeds when the horses are sold privately after the 100-Day Trainer Challenge.
Solar is a 7-year-old gelding and Klimek is a 26-year-old native of Rainier, with extensive equestrian experience. Solar and Klimek received 10 points for finishing first in freestyle, five for finishing first in in-hand, and three points for third in flat class.
Incidentally, Jack Hodge, who's Oak Crest Farm bred and raced Solar, is vice president and treasurer of The Prodigious Fund and presented Klimek with the first-placecheck.
Dakota Demon and rider/trainer Mark Bolender took second place and a $500 prize. The 3-year-old gelding and 57-year-old Bolender totaled 13 points, finishing second in both freestyle and in-hand, and fifth in flat class.
In addition, Dakota Demon was voted the Fan Favorite, and awarded a special halter at the prize ceremony.
Summer Snow, the oldest horse in the competition, finished third under the guidance of rider/trainer Devin Robel of Eugene, Ore., and earned $250. The 9-year-old gelding finished third in both the in-hand and freestyle, and fourthin the flat class.
Underfunded Fun, a 4-year-old filly trained by Ruel Johnson of Poulsbo and The Last Say, a 6-year-old mare trained by Meika Decher of Lake Stevens rounded out the order of finish. Undefunded Fun and The Last Say each totaled nine points.
All competitors received blankets for their efforts.