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‘Slow and steady’ prevail at 45th Zoopolis 500

The ‘Greatest Spectacle in Tortoise Racing’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare, and how slow and steady prevails. That lesson was on full display Wednesday at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Alongside the Indiana Dairy Association and 500 Festival princesses, the zoo hosted its 45th annual Zoopolis 500.

It pitted four radiated tortoises against each other in a race through a straight track.

The winner of this year’s Zoopolis 500 was the tortoise named after IndyCar driver and Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves.

Helio the tortoise is actually a female, known as Mary around the zoo.

As is a tradition at the zoo, Mary was welcomed with a big pile of fruit. Just like the real Indy 500 — the winning trainer had some milk.

Zookeeper Lewis Single says it’s always great to spotlight the tortoises.

“We rain drills for hours a day just to get her ready,” Single said. “In all seriousness, it’s the fruit that does it. Reptiles have a beautiful place in nature as well.”

Mary finished the race in just under seven minutes.

After the race, trainers were around to talk about the radiated tortoise and their native habitat in Madagascar.