Mules Making Mark at Fair

October 12, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Big Fresno Fair will wrap up on Monday, but not before one of the biggest mule races to date. Hot Ticket has won 17 out of her last 18 races and Monday she'll go head to head with some of the best, including the 'Queen of Mules' Sarah Nelson.

Action News caught up with Sarah Nelson Sunday afternoon, as the mule took a break and rolled around in the dirt. Monday, the nine year old will face one of her toughest competitors in what could be her final race. "She's really really been the champion of mule racing," said Sarah Nelson's trainer, Sue Andrus.

"It doesn't matter who it is, horse, camel, whatever, it's just, 'I want to be in front,'" said Nelson's owner, Roger Downey.

Sarah Nelson's competition is Hot Ticket, a younger mule with a lot of speed and the heavy favorite in Monday's race. "She's one of the best mules I ever trained and I trained every breed there was," said Hot Ticket's trainer, Ray Thomas.

Hot Ticket is an up and coming star in mule racing. "I've been racing mules for 20 years now and haven't been fortunate enough to own a mule like this animal. She's got more heart, more athleticism and speed than any animal I've ever owned," said Hot Ticket's Owner, Dave Wood.

Horse racing is always big at the Big Fresno Fair, but last year was a first for a $50,000 dollar Mule Match Race. Sarah Nelson and Hot Ticket went head to head and when Hot Ticket won, it created somewhat of a rivalry. Adding to this year's drama, Hot Ticket's jockey, Danny Boag, is retiring after Monday's race. "I'd like to get one more win out of her for everybody and let the crowd see her win another one," said Boag.

Boag said Hot Ticket has a 100% chance of winning Monday. But if Sarah Nelson was scared Sunday, she didn't show it. "She's just a few steps slower than Hot Ticket, but then there's always tomorrow? It could happen, anything can happen, that's why we're here, the possibility exists!" said Downey.

Monday is Sarah Nelson's last race of the season and depending on how things go it could be the last of her career. Downey said if she's not up for more racing come spring, she'll be retired.

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