Jay and Fay own and train the horse, with Jay’s sister Joyce. But there is more to it than that.
“Everyone feels that Shakalaka is Warm Springs’ horse,” Fay was saying the other day. “He’s not just our horse, Shakalaka belongs to Warm Springs.” As an example:
This summer, after Shakalaka won at Prineville, they brought the horse onto the track for winner’s photo. So many people from the reservation were on hand for the occasion, the photographer had a hard time fitting everyone in the frame.
Shakalaka is one of Jay and Fay’s most successful race horses. He’s won 11 races.
Their horse Ziggy Zack is also very fast. Last year Ziggy Zack won five races in a row.
For now, Shakalaka is probably the most recognizable horse to people in the Portland area. The horse’s image and name were used in a recent Portland Meadows promotional campaign, appearing on city buses and billboards, and on the side of a building.
Portland Meadows features Shakalaka on its website, and had large posters of the horse on display at the racetrack. The motto was “Place Your Bets on Shakalaka.”
Jay and Fay live in Simnasho. Jay works at Forestry, and Fay at Health and Human Services. Joyce lives in Portland, taking care of the horses. Jay and Fay have seven thoroughbreds.
Horse racing is a family tradition, coming down to Jay from his father Franklin Suppah.
Shakalaka is originally from California. Jay and Fay acquired him from the previous owner in a claiming race at Portland Meadows.
A claiming race is when the horses are all for sale for about the same price, up until shortly before the race. “It’s a way to keep things honest,” Jay says.
At a race in Montana, a woman claimed Shakalaka from Jay and Fay. They went back the following week and claimed him back.
Shakalaka is 9 years old, like Ziggy Zack. “We were planning to retire them after Burns,” Jay says, “but they’re still holding up pretty good.”