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BOISE -- The biggest purse of the year was handed out at Les Bois Park on Monday. The annual Bitterroot Futurity paid out $116,996 to the top quarter horse runners over the age of two.

A Memorial Day tradition that brings out plenty of spectators, this year's 350-yard race did not disappoint, and ended with a bit of controversy. SS Paydirt, ridden by Jesus Virgin, won the race by a length. But after the dust had cleared, a protest was filed, and it was announced that the winning horse was penalized for straying out of its lane. As a result, race officials awarded first place to Lacey J. Jr., ridden by Elliot Bachicha.

I knew we had gotten beat. Just listening to the talk from the other riders, it sounded like it was legit, said winning owner Ron Moosman. You hate to win a race that way, but you take them any way you can get them in a race of this magnitude.

Fans that were active or retired members of the military were given free admission, along with their families, to Monday's race.

Les Bois Park will next hold races on Wednesday, with a post time of 5:30 p.m.

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