- Created on Wednesday, 04 April 2012
- Written by Mark Thompson
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Becky Clark had never won a limited-age cutting title before, and she did it from a challenging No. 28 of 28 horse a draw. She and her horse competed 14th among 14 duos in the second of two cattle sets. The highest previous score Becky had ever posted in Will Rogers Coliseum, the site of the Super Stakes and all Fort Worth “Triple Crown” events, was a 217.
While topping the highest score she’d posted anywhere by two points, Clark also earned twice the event’s scheduled $18,000 champion payout. That’s because Widows Peek (Widows Freckles x Peek A Boon x Smart Little Lena) qualified for the McDavid Double Down Bonus, thanks to his sire. The McDavid bonus doubles a champion's payout at the Fort Worth limited-age events for qualified horses.
Becky’s husband, Jason, has worked as the head cutting horse trainer for Double Down Bonus sponsors David and Stacie McDavid, Fort Worth, Texas, the past two years. David McDavid actually reminded Becky that the extra money was a possibility shortly before she competed.
“He [McDavid] came up to me right before I showed and said, ‘Remember, you get the Double Down if you’re first or second.’ I wasn’t really even thinking about that. Being last, I just wanted to go in there and have a good run and get a good check.”
McDavid owned Widows Peek, bred by Double Dove Ranch, Benbrook, Texas, early in his training as a cutting horse. He eventually sold the gelding to the Idaho-based Black Rock Ranch, where Setnicka competed well with him at a few early events, then purchased the horse himself in mid-2010. After moving to Texas in 2011, Setnicka simply didn’t get to work much with his own horse while working hard to establish a new training client base. Widows Peek, while talented, also had a few physical issues he was battling, so the trainer decided to give him to his friends, Jason and Becky Clark. With the Clarks, the horse could heal up and then compete.
“We got him about two months ago and Aqua Treaded him for a month and a half,” Becky said. “I showed him for the first time [at a weekend show in nearby Weatherford, Texas] right before this [the Super Stakes] started. He’s just really good. You put him on a cow and he does his job. He did his job tonight.”
Clark and Widows Peek were also Classic Challenge Limited Non-Pro finalists and earned a $3,244 check by finishing No. 22 in that event’s Sunday finals. They earned nearly $40,000 together at their first limited-age show. They will compete again at the Breeders Invitational in Tulsa, Okla., during mid-May.Allie Roger, married to long-time Texas-based cutting trainer and native Australian Neil Roger, led the Classic Non-Pro finals most of the night after posting a career-best 223 from the No. 4 draw in the first cattle set. Allie competed aboard 5-year-old mare Chattahoochie (High Brow Cat x Maria Starlight x Grays Starlight), a horse her husband bought in late December as a Christmas present they could share.
Chattahoochie’s prior owner, Carol Rains, Bakersfiled, Calif., placed the horse in training with Neil for a couple of years, but the mare had never quite hit her mark. The horse had earned a combined $3,470 as a cutter heading into the Super Stakes. Neil Roger guided her to No. 19 finish in Saturday’s Classic Open finals to earn $7,731. Allie Roger and Chattahoochie earned $17,445 as Tuesday’s Classic Non-Pro Reserve Champions.
“I couldn’t be more pleased,” Allie said. “I want to thank all our help. They get up early and stay up late, and they are always there for us.” Allie and the horse will compete again at the Breeders Invitational in May, with Weatherford, Texas, trainer Clint Allen pinch-hitting for Neil. Neil plans to host his mother, visiting from Australia, and keep an eye he and Allie’s children during that show.
Brandon Dufferrena, 26, son of Gainesville, Texas, trainer Ed Dufferrena and his wife, Shona, guided 2007 mare Nievas (Cats Merada x Smart Little Boogie x EG Southern Dancer), a prior career earner of $70,571, to a 219 and a No. 3 check worth $16,889.Bob Kingsley, 73, host and producer of the weekly radio show Country Top 40, and along with his wife, Nan, owner of Bluestem Ranch, Weatherford, Texas, finished a fourth with a 217.5 aboard 2006 gelding Little Pepto Cat to earn $16,889. They had earned $2,017 while tying for last with a no score during Sunday’s Limited Non-Pro finals. Kingsley and the horse also earned the Classic Non-Pro’s Senior division title.
Little Pepto Cat (High Brow Cat x Little Pepto Gal x Peptoboonsmal) is the top-earning cutting foal of Little Pepto Gal, an NCHA Hall of Fame mare owned by the Kingsleys. He’s closing in on $200,000 in career earnings. His mother was also due to deliver a foal any time as Kingsley competed with the gelding in the finals. Little Pepto Cat’s trainer, Matt Gaines, Weatherford, Texas, guided the horse to final-go 222 and a Super Stakes Classic Open Reserve Championship worth $55,852 Saturday night in the same arena.
“This is the best Super Stakes I’ve ever had,” Kingsley said. “The ride that I wake up thinking about was Matt’s ride Saturday night. That was pretty exciting.”
At the same time, Kinglsey was also pleased about placing fourth with Little Pepto Cat and marking a strong 217.5 while drawing last in Tuesday’s 14-horse first set, and finishing as Senior Champion rider. “I’m always excited about the buckles,” he said.
“The first thing I thought about [upon finding t he’d drawn last in his set] was Craig Thompson. He’s won two Futurities [NCHA Futurity Open titles] drawing last. I’ve seen Matt [Gaines] do it [win from a bottom of the set draw] a number of times. Once you get that mindset, it’s like, ‘OK, I can do this.’ Matt and Paul Hansma [another Weatherford, Texas, NCHA Hall of Fame trainer] picked the cows, and the horse was ready.”
Super Stakes Classic Open
Cat Man Blue, a 5-year-old stallion (High Brow Cat x Quintan Blue x Mecom Blue) whose parents rank as a cutting royal couple, marked a 225 with trainer Sean Flynn, Weatherford, Texas, to win the April 1 Classic Open title at the XTO Energy/NCHA Super Stakes in Fort Worth, Texas, and earn $65,426 for husband and wife owners J.C. and Sally Mitchell.
It’s the first limited-age victory in Will Rogers Coliseum for Cat Man Blue, Flynn and the Mitchells. Former high school classmates J.C. Mitchell, 79, and Sally Mitchell, 76, originally went their separate ways, but met up again, and eventually married, 21 years ago. They own Lazy M Cattle LLC, Forney, Texas, and 14 cutting horses.
Cat Man Blue, a prior career earner of $49,779, crossed the $100,000 mark in career earnings with his first limited-age victory. The horse picked up his top prior check, $20,469, by tying for fifth with Flynn in the Derby Open finals at the NCHA Summer Spectacular in Fort Worth last July.
Flynn is an Australia native who has worked in Texas many years, and a career earner of more than $1.7 million as a cutting horse rider. He had finished near the top many times, but had never won a Triple Crown cutting event in Fort Worth.
He felt like he could win every prior time he’d walked into a cutting arena with Cat Man Blue, Flynn said, adding the pair simply experienced a long string of hard luck. This time, everything went right in the finals, especially as the duo faced an exceptionally active second cow. They turned it back with several sliding side stops.
“It was sure tough enough. You wouldn’t have wanted any more. He was a little bit winded [from competing so well against the second cow],” Flynn said. “That’s why I went back and cut deep for my third cow, to try and give him a minute to catch his breath.” They cut a third cow cleanly and finished well with about 10 seconds left.
Cat Man Blue and Flynn marked their 225 from a No. 2-draw in the first set of a two set, 25-horse finals jam-packed with high-powered horses and riders. That left the horse’s trainer and owners about two hours to wonder if it would hold up for a win.
“I didn’t think it was a draw to win from, but I thought we could have a good run, and see what happened from there,” Flynn said. “ I said to Phil Rapp [a fellow trainer with several Fort Worth wins] earlier, ‘If it holds up, it’s something that growing up in Australia, we dream about all our lives.’ Winning in this building is neat.”Little Pepto Cat (High Brow Cat x Little Pepto Gal x Peptoboonsmal), a 6-year-old gelding bred and owned by Bob and Nan Kingsley, Weatherford, Texas, and trained and ridden by Matt Gaines, Weatherford, Texas, finished a strong second with a 222 to earn $55,956. Little Pepto Cat, the top-earning foal of Little Pepto Gal, an NCHA Hall of Fame mare still owned by the Kingsleys, competes again in Sunday’s Limited Non-Pro and Tuesday’s Classic Non-Pro finals with Bob Kingsley in the saddle both times.
The host and producer of the weekly nationally syndicated radio program Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40 won his first Fort Worth limited-age title aboard Little Pepto Gal in the Classic Non-Pro finals at the 2004 NCHA Summer Spectacular. Nearly eight years later, at age 73, he’s trying to pull of the same trick while riding her son. Kingsley and Little Pepto Cat led all Non-Pro riders with a two-go 437 composite to earn their way into Classic Limited Non-Pro and Classic Non-Pro finals.
Little Pepto Cat extended his career earnings to $176,556 when he and Gaines finished second in the Classic Open. The horse already ranks as his mother’s top earning foal. He has a solid shot at surpassing the $200,000 mark before the show ends.
Meanwhile, Little Pepto Gal (Peptoboonsmal x Freckles O Lena x Doc O Lena), a career earner of $526,229 during her standout career as a cutter, is nearly due to deliver a foal, sired by Smooth As A Cat. It’s the first foal she’s carried on her own.
Super Stakes announcer Tom Holt sent the Kingsleys a text right before Little Pepto Cat and Gaines headed to the herd Saturday night. It asked, “What if the foal alert went off right now?”
The Kingsleys, seated right next to the arena in Will Rogers Coliseum, texted Holt right back and said, “She knows better. She’s watching the run on her iPad.”
Classic Limited Non-Pro
Jeff Gough, Graham, Texas, earned his first ever Will Rogers Coliseum bronze and a $6,276 check for winning the Classic Limited Non Pro finals April 2 in Fort Worth marking a 221 on his gelding Smart Little Wood.
Gough, a prior earner of $138,728, described his day as nothing short of great.
“I got up this morning and went and worked horses with my dad out at his place. I worked my 3-year-old then I got to meet my family at church this morning. As soon as that was over I came down here and got to do this. It’s been a great day.”
Second out in the second bunch, Gough was chasing a 219 that had been set by Havey Riddle and Dear Gussey. Ironically a 219 was Gough’s prior highest score and one that he’d mentioned to friends that he hadn’t been able to surpass.
“Being the second one out, there were a lot of good cows in there. I’ve got great, great help [Winston Hansma, Paul Hansma, Sean Flynn and Shannon Hall] that’s always looking out for me and wants to see me succeed. I knew the cows that I wanted. There were five or six that I really liked. Three of them happened to be there handy. I cut them clean, they were good and I was proud of the way I cut. My horse took care of the rest. The horse was great.”
Smart Little Wood (Nitas Wood x Danelle Boon x Peptoboonsmal) had prior lifetime earnings of $50,905. Labourdette Ranch, LLC, Folsom, La., bred the horse, and Gough’s father Ping purchased him as a yearling at the Summer Spectacular sales for $5,500.Luis De Armas, Boca Raton, Fla., won the $6,132 Reserve Champion’s check with a score of 219.5 with his mare Sly Playgirl (That Sly Cat x Taquitas Playgirl x Freckles Playboy). De Armas, an earner of $106,011, had previously won an Amateur title in Will Rogers but this was his best Non-Pro finish to date.
“The only thing that we thought that wasn’t great was we found our second cow right by the wall. I went for her. She was in between many, many cows but when she was clear Jaime (Snider) told me, ‘Well that’s not one we want, we better look for something else.’ Paul on the other side found a gold cow that was on top. That was the only part of the run that I felt like, we’re missing points or losing time, other than that it was good. I knew we didn’t have enough to win but to place the best we could.”
Sly Playgirl, an earner of $110,611, was bred at the Slate River Ranch, Weatherford, Texas. She won the first round of the NCHA Futurity Open with trainer Jaime Snider. De Armas purchased her after the Summer Spectacular last year.
“We are very happy to own her. We feel like she is a once in a lifetime horse,” De Armas said.
Riddle split third and fourth with Lisa Hewitt, Australia, on Olenasduallyfeather.
The first finals of the XTO Energy/National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes kicked off Tuesday, March 27 with the Classic John Deere Open. The 2011 Super Stakes Derby John Deere Open Champions, Reyn Maker and Tate Bennett, stole the show once again.
With a go-round composite of 431.5, Reyn Maker (Dual Rey x Mists Annie Oak x Peptoboonsmal), owned by Bennett, Hereford, Texas, and bred by Jack Silver Jr., Pryor, Okla., comfortably made the John Deere Open finals, but he missed the Open by a few points. That meant this was Bennett’s and Reyn Maker’s last chance at a title, so they knew they needed to make it count.
From their third draw in the nine-horse finals, they did just that. With a second cut that resulted in a fast cow, the degree of difficulty skyrocketed. But Reyn Maker wasn’t fazed. The 5-year-old gelding gritted up, stopped hard and held the cow.
The class was far from finished, but the crowd whistled and yelled when they saw the horse-and-rider team’s score, a 227.
Reyn Maker and Bennett took home a Champion’s check for $6,793.
Right before Reyn Maker’s exciting run, KTZ Rey Of Cash marked a 223, which would hold strong for the Reserve Champion title. The 6-year-old stallion (Dual Rey x Clays Little Cash x Cash Quixote Rio), owned by Rodney Wrinkle, Lebanon, Mo., and bred by Judy Garrett, Allen, Texas, carried Dean Domann, Gainesville, Texas.
In exchange for their performance, Domann and KTZ Rey Of Cash collected $5,905. They are also the only horse-and-rider team from the Classic John Deere Open finals that marked a go-round composite 435.5, which is half of a point above the cut-off for the Open finals.
For complete results of the NCHA Super Stakes Classic John Deere Open finals, click here.