- Created on Saturday, 26 May 2012
- Written by Mark Thompson & Jessica Harms
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Cox, also a Classic/Challenge victor on May 13, and third in the Special 5 Open finals on May 14 during the May 10-26 Breeder’s Invitational cutting, both aboard stallion One Time Royalty, also earned three more finals checks with two other horses, and more than $160,000 combined during the show.
Hottish and Cox earned nearly $70,000, including a 10 percent payout that goes to owners of his sire and his dam, with the win.
“I have no complaints,” Cox said. Then he carried a shiny new saddle he’d just earned as Derby Open Champion out of the arena.
Hottish (Spots Hot x Stylish Play Lena x Docs Styish Oak), owned by husband and wife non-pro cutters Deena and Dustin Adams, Dublins, Texas, has earned more than $150,000. That’s not bad considering he’s only five months into his 4-year-old season. He also carried Dustin to a Super Stakes Non-Pro victory with a 227 in Fort Worth, Texas, last month.
While consistently making finals, and finishing near the top several times, Cox had experienced a 16-month winless streak. Until the BI, his last limited-age win had been in December, 2010, when he guided One Time Royalty to a record 230 score and a win in the NCHA Futurity Open finals.
“It’s just one of those things that makes it that much more fun when you do win,” said Christina Galyean Cox, Lloyd’s wife, and an accomplished Non-Pro cutter. She usually heads to the herd with her brothers, her dad, and Cox in each corner. All four are Futurity Open Champions.
Asked about Hottish, Christina said, “I love him. He makes really flashy dynamic moves that are real cool. We’ve known since we got him from Dusty [Dustin Adams, who owns the horse, along with his wife, Deena]. Finally, we got him shown.”
It’s likely Hottish (Spots Hot x Stylish Play Lena x Docs Stylish Oak), will compete in Fort Worth at the NCHA Summer Spectacular with Dustin Adams and Cox.
Adams says the stallion is the best horse he’s owned. That’s a big statement from a rider who has earned more than $3.3 million at cutting events so far in his career.
“He does things no other horses I’ve ever had can do,” said Adams, who has obviously ridden some good ones. For several years, after learning the craft partly from longtime mentor Shannon Hall, Adams has primarily trained his own horses.
Soon after buying Hottish in April of the horse’s yearling season from breeder Double Dove Ranch, Benbrook, Texas, and especially after initiating training as a 2-year-old, Adams knew he was special. For the first time in a long time, he thought a horse he owned might benefit from someone else providing the 3-year-old training.
Dustin’s father, the late Wes Adams, spoke with him about the idea. Wes also suggested Cox might provide a great fit for the horse.
“After I lost my dad [in February, 2011, early in Hottish’s 3-year-old season] there was going to be a period of time where I couldn’t give the horses what they needed to keep progressing,” Adams said. “I didn’t want that horse to get lost in the shuffle. That’s when Deena and I talked about it, and prayed about it, and we decided to send the horse to Lloyd.”The decision “has been one of the best I ever made,” Dustin added. “It’s really enjoyable to just own him, and have the pressure be off, let him worry about training him and me just have a nice horse. That’s new to me.”
Until Hottish and Cox marked a 223.5 from a No. 5 draw in the two-set, 27 horse finals, a first-set 221 marked by Thundercat and Matt Miller had set the pace. They worked overtime by marking a 222 to win the May 24 Open Wildcard round just to reach the finals. They ended up second and earned nearly $43,000 as the Reserve Champions.
Miller, 27, said owners Don and Joetta Bell, who like him reside in Weatherford, Texas, were pleased with the horse’s finish. The gelding, a career earner of more than $100,000, has made four finals in four tries, and keeps getting better. “Hopefully we can keep that going,” Miller said.
$10,000 Limited Open
Traci Burgess failed to make the second go during the first set of the Breeder’s Invitational Derby Non-Pro on May 24, but her husband Jon fared much better in the last set of the day. He piloted Tassajara Magic, a gelding owned by his boss since fall of 2010, Joann Parker, to a 223 score that won the $10,000 Limited Open finals and earned $18,549.
“It was Jon’s first ever aged-even win,” Traci Burgess said. “He’s competed on weekends [at smaller limited and any-age cuttings] and done very well there, but he’s always been half a point out of making the finals [at bigger shows]. It’s really nice. It’s a blessing.”
Tassajara Magic (Starlights Gypsy x Mia Uno Tassa x Smart Little Uno) headed to Tulsa, Okla., with a little less than $5,000 in prior career cutting earnings. In addition to the check she just earned for breeder and owner, Parker, Weatherford, Texas, she’ll compete with Burgess this Saturday for a Derby Open top prize exceeding $70,000.
Jon’s wife Traci watched her husband compete along with their teen-aged son, Justin, their daughter, Tasha, and Tasha’s seven-month-old daughter, Sage. The whole family nearly cried when a 223 flashed on the scoreboard after the horse and her husband’s run. The trainer, 45, has competed on talented horses during his cutting career, but until now, he had never quite broken into the winner’s circle at a show of this magnitude. The career earner of just under $400,000 before the BI has earned bigger checks, including one topping $70,000 as he guided stallion Chula Dual to a spot near the top of an NCHA Futurity Open finals in the late 1990s. This is still the first time he has finished first on such a big stage.
Burgess attributes the breakthrough victory to an outstanding horse, and a great horse owner. Prominent breeder and cutting owner Joann Parker hired him, and moved his family to her training base in Millsap, Texas, near Fort Worth, about 1 ½ years ago.
“I’ve known Joann for a long time. She’s had horses with multiple trainers, and she’s had resident trainers work for her,” Burgess said, adding the two ran into each other shortly after her last resident trainer left to take another job. “She saw me at a pre-work [for the 2010 NCHA Futurity] not long after he moved. I had a nice little mare. I never won very much on her, but she was cute to watch. She saw us ride and called me a couple of days after the pre-work. She said, ‘What would it take to get you to come work for me?’ She popped off a number and I took it. I was just about starving to death at the time.”
At his point, the move appears to be working well for both parties. Burgess and his son-in-law, his daughter Tasha’s husband, Chris Hanson, work together training a string that includes more than 30 cutting horses. Hanson and a horse he and Tasha bought from Parker won a Classic/Challenge Limited Open title at the BI last week.
“She’s been patient and been loyal,” Burgess said. “That’s what you need. You need somebody behind you that believes in you. I had that once before, and I lost it. I learned from that, and I enjoy this.”
After winning the $10,000 Limited Open, Burgess likes the horse’s chances of finishing near the top Saturday with more money on the line. “We’ve got some momentum,” he said. “I also found out you don’t have to run all over the pen. You can lay down there in the middle, have some style and win one of these. I’m just thankful.”James Boond and Glynn Whitman, 44, who were also seeking their first major limited-age titles Thursday, finished as Reserve Champions with a 218 to earn $14,906. That’s the most money Whitman’s ever won with a single run on a cutting horse’s back.
Like Burgess, Whitman credits enhanced recent success to getting a better job and a better boss five years ago. His boss since then has been retired professional bullrider Spanky Browne. Whitman works form Browne’s base in Wilburton, Okla.
“It’s been awesome. I was about ready to quit when he hired me,” Whitman said. “He’s been great not just as my boss, but as my friend. He wants me to do well.”
Special 5 Non-Pro
Brandon Dufurrena and Nievas competed second in the first set during the May 18 Special 5 Non-Pro finals at the Breeder’s Invitational cutting in Tulsa, Okla., and they marked a 224 to earn $33,089, but the 26-year-old said it took a lot of concentration.
“Before I went down there, I just wanted to make good clean cuts. I hadn’t been doing that all week,” the young Gainesville, Texas, rider said. “I was just trying to let my mare work the cows.”
With a nice first cow and even better second, the pair’s run steadily built as Dufurrena headed to the back wall to retrieve his third contender. “I needed to come cut and that cow drove up like we all dreamed they would,” he said. “It worked out perfect.”
Dufurrena’s mare (Cats Merada x Smart Little Boogie x EG Southern Dancer) was one of few horses not double-entered in the Special 5 and the Classic/Challenge finals that followed them. Because his father, cutting trainer Ed Dufurrena, also competed with Nievas in the Open with the mare, the family didn’t want to overload the horse with too many runs. The Special 5 was a clear first choice due to a larger payout.
“My mindset is always to be smooth, clean and accurate and try to stay focused on that,” the young rider said, adding that waiting out the other 20 horses that followed his early-lead-taking effort was a bit daunting.
Nievas’ performance in Tulsa put her past the $120,000 mark in career cutting earnings.
Her name stems from family history, which Dufurrena a is well-versed on. He explained it was his great grandmother’s name. She came from Spain to the United States. The word “nievas” means falling snow in his ancestors’ Basque language. Nievas is the first foal out of the mare Smart Little Boogie, the first horse Dufurrena’s father, Ed, trained for limited aged events. The young Dufurrena went on to win a National High School Cutting Finals on the mare the family purchased as a 6-year-old. Nievas has shown the same talents as her mother.
“Her mom was really smart. She didn’t have a really big stop, but was really good about drawing a cow down. She [Nievas] is the same way – really smart. Just to work her, you don’t have to work her hard or lope her hard. She just does her job.”
The Dufurrenas have been hauling a lot trying to make aged events, as well as secure open and non-pro top 15 spots. Although Brandon typically competes on his other good mare, Miss Ella Rey in the weekend events, he’s also utilized Nievas lately because Miss Ella Rey has been getting bred. He has both mares geared up for the rest of the year and has big plans, short term and long term.
“I want to win the World in the Non-Pro this year,” he said. “ I would also like to win the Non-Pro Futurity at some point. Regarding his becoming a professional horse trainer, Brandon said, “It could happen this year, or 10 years from now. We’ll see.”
Paula Wood, Stephenville, Texas, and Little Black Boon (Dual Boon x Christys Lenas Choice x SR Instant Choice) came the closest to Dufurrena among the 21 other riders and horses with a 219.5 in the second set to earn $27,294.
Mary Ann Rapp, Shrimp Shack Shooter Fare Well At BI
Winning Friday’s Classic/Challenge Non-Pro finals with a 220 Friday at the Breeder’s Invitational cutting in Tulsa, Okla., Mary Ann Rapp and Shrimp Shack Shooter picked up their second check of the day as they added more than $40,000 to their earnings.
One set separated the 217-point fourth-place finish in the Special 5 Non-Pro finals from their Classic/Challenge wins, and they earned two checks totaling an estimated $41,242. Rapp felt competing in two sets, with one in between, worked in the gelding’s favor.
“Our horses tend to think they’re in trouble when they get shown back-to- back, so I thought he would be better,” she the Weatherford, Texas, cutter.
Rapp cut the three cows she’d hoped for, but knew her third one would take some finesse. Still, she went for it because she knew showcasing the gelding’s big stops would earn her a bigger check if she could pull it off.
“Phil said, ‘If you’re going to cut her, this is the way to cut her,’” Rapp said. “She kind of trotted out there and I had a lot of time. I waited a second, because I felt like it was too much time on that one.”
The gelding proved he could hang with the testy cow and racked up the points in doing so. “He was outstanding on that third cow. He had a lot of opportunities not to be, but he went and buried up and handled it,” Rapp said. “I was very proud of him.”
Rapp and the Shrimp Shack Shooter (Smooth As A Cat x Awesome Autumn x Smart Little Lena) marked a 214.5 in the first go of the Non-Pro in Tulsa, but made up for it with a 219 in the second. Mary Ann also made the Classic/Challenge finals with 6-year-old Toy Engine to earn another $5,191.
The Rapps purchased Shrimp Shack Shooter as a 3-year-old from the Autumn Partnership. Mary Ann took some convincing from her husband to go through with it.
“Honestly, Phil liked him. I didn’t,” she said with a laugh. “He was a tough little horse to train. But he had a really big stop. He tried to get me to buy him out for months and finally he talked me into.”
The biggest question raised about the horse is where did his name came from. As Mary Ann explained, it’s from the movie “That Thing You Do.” It features a one-hit wonder band “The Wonders,” and they briefly appear as movie band Cap’n Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters. “We just always wanted to name a gelding that,” she added. Before the BI, the horse with the funny name had earned approximately $52,000. He’s now just under the $100,00 mark, with a year and a half of limited-age events left.
Two 219s secured tied for the Non-Pro Classic/Challenge Reserve Championship. Luis De Armas, Bocan Rotan, Fla, and his mare Sly Playgirl, a winner of the Special 5 Open on May 14 with trainer Jaime Snyder, were part of the tied to earn another $14,824.
Lindy Ashlock and Catgotchatongue matched that 219 as the last pair out to also claim $14,824.
Tom Kaufmann, Duck On A Chain, Win Twin Amateur Titles
Clovis, Calif, cutter Tom Kaufmann who's returning to the sport this year after a 20-year break, and his tiny but mighty 2007 mare, Duck On A Chain, won Special 5 Amateur and Classic/Challenge Amateur titles with 219 and 218.5 scores Friday at the Breeder’s Invitational to earn a combined $15,664.
The same duo had won an Amateur title in Paso Robles, Calif., in March at their first major show. Special 5 Co-Reserve Champion Kevin Radford, Alva., Okla., and Bettin In Reno tied for second with a 215. They also placed No. 19 in the Classic/Challenge Amateur to earn two checks totaling $7,053. John Lindsey, Weatherford, Texas, and Disco Crat tied as Special 5 Amateur Champions with a 215 to earn $5,053.
Mandy Chisum, Atascadero, Calif., and Woodys Wildest Cat were Classic/Challenge Amateur Reserve Champions with a 217.5 to earn $7,745. Clint Allen, Weatherford, Texas, the horse’s trainer, made the Classic/Challenge Open finals with him last Sunday.
Lorin Ashley, Ada, Okla., the now 42-year-old Kaufmann’s original youth cutting horse trainer and riding instructor, traveled to Tulsa with the two-time winner, and served as one of his herd helpers during both victories. His former student remembered many of cutting’s basics rather well, Ashley said.
“He’s remembered all of it,” Ashley said. “I’m proud of him. It (assisting his former pupil during two winning runs) made my year. I got lots of enjoyment out of it.”
Kaufmann does recall much about his early cutting days, when he teamed with Ashley, and a couple of good horses, to win often in the Youth, $2,000 Limit Rider and $10,000 Amateur divisions, during a four-year period before college, marriage and launching his career.
Asked what he remembered most from his youth day’s as a cutter, the tomato farming operation and gun maker said, “Just be aggressive, and don’t let the cow pick you. Go and pick the one you want. Be aggressive with your cuts, know what you want to do, and stay out of the horse’s way once you put your hand down.”
At the BI, Kaufmann did what he needed, then stayed out of “Quack’s” way. The duo picked up the first of their two finals wins by a four-point margin. They won their second by a point thanks to plenty of working time on a two-cow run including well over 30 seconds of work on the second. Afterwards, the horse and rider hit the road back towards California, where they’ll compete again at another cutting in Tejon this Sunday.
Until this week, Kaufmann and Ashely hadn’t seen each other in more than 20 years. They did talk on the phone this past fall, as Kaufmann asked his former trainer to keep his eye out for a good horse. Ashley located a prospect, but Russ Westfall and his wife, Janet, Los Olivos, Calif., offered a better one in “Quack,” sired by Blue Duck Okie, and out of a Dual Pep mare, Zippity Dual. The only person who didn’t like the deal was the couple’s son, Brandon Westfall. Brandon, who turns 12 in June has gotten more used to the idea as the horse’s frequent loper and her new owner’s top cheerleader at the events.
Duck On A Chain, bred and originally owned by Billy Emerson, Addison, Texas, was previously owned by Shannon and Rhonda Hall, Comanche, Texas. The Westfalls bought her before the start of her 4-year-old season. Janet Westfall won a PCCHA Derby Non-Pro title with her last spring in Paso Robles. The Westfalls then sold the career earner of more than $140,000 to Kaufmann in October, as he started his cutting comeback bid.
If they were going to sell her, Brandon Westfall agrees his parents picked the right guy. Kaufmann enthusiastically encourages Brandon’s continued involvement with the mare. That’s worked out well, too. Brandon warmed her up during her big March win, too.
The small but mighty mare only stands about 14-hands tall and weighs about 900 pounds. She doesn’t seem to strain while competing with Kaufmann, who weighs more than 200. At the same time, the horse owner said having Brandon lope her during events does serve the mare well. He knows her as well as anyone does, and weighs in at about 110 pounds.
“Brandon did a good job,” Kaufmann said. “He keeps my heavy butt off her. She’s a small horse but she’s got a lot of fire in her. It (having Brandon lope) gives her a little more air, and it saves her back a little bit.”
Classic/Challenge Amateur Reserve Champion Mandy Chisum, like Kaufmann, returned to cutting recently a long break. She spent six years away from the sport after marrying her husband, Travis Chisum. He shoes horses for a living and enjoys roping for fun. The couple also has two daughters, Brodi, 3, and Braxton, 13 months old. Mandy took care of the children while traveling with Travis to many roping s the past couple of years. Travis has now taken his turn at returning the favor this year. The couple celebrated their sixth anniversary at the BI Thursday, with Mandy and “Bob” qualifying for the finals that day.
Woodys Wildest Cat, a.k.a. “Bob,” is the only horse Chisum has owned since buying him as she got back into cutting this year. They earned an eighth-place finish during their debut at early spring’s National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes in Fort Worth. At this point, Mandy does not have a cutting horse to practice with in California. When she can, she meets up with her horse and her trainer Allen, at shows to warm up a little.
“Clint’s a good coach,” Chisum said. “He’s very patient. He also understands that I’m a mom first, and doing this is second.” It probably helps, she said, that Allen and his wife, Shayle, have three young children, too.
Bettin On Reno, the 2007 red roan mare that carried Kevin Radford to a Co-Reserve title in the Special 5 and the Classic/Challenge Amateur finals, had earned $509 as a cutter before picking up by far the two biggest checks at the BI Friday.
John Lindsey, 68, the Classic/Challenge Amateur Co-Champion with Disco Crat, will compete again at the BI with another horse during the upcoming 4-year-old competiton. He moved to Texas from Washington State a year ago to test himself more as a cutter.
Sly Playgirl, Jaime Snider Rebound to Win BI Special 5 Open
Sly Playgirl, owned by non-pro Luis De Armas, Boca Rotan, Fla., and ridden by trainer Jaime Snider, Burleson, Texas, dominated the May 14 Breeder’s Invitational Special 5 Open finals with a 224 and earned $72,757, including stallion and mare owner incentives.
A costly mistake during the prior day's BI Classic/Challenge Open finals aboard the same 5-year-old mare haunted trainer and rider Snider overnight, but he and the horse made up for it in a big way Monday morning.
Regardless of what happened, Snider, 32, Burleson, Texas, was sure he and the mare (That Sly Cat x Taquitas Playgirl x Freckles Playboy) were not going to hot quit on a cow again.
“I told my help, ‘I know that cow is going to be going the other direction before I quit. It won’t be looking. It won’t be close at all. I’m going to make sure it’s headed out the gate before I get off.’ That’s what I did. They were sure turned away this time.”
The prior career earner of $407,244 as a cutting rider was one of only two trainers competing in the 22-horse finals who had not already earned more than $1 million. The other, Perrin, Texas, trainer Bubba Matock, has earned about $930,000.
Back in early February, Sly Playgirl carried Snider to the first Open limited-age title of his career, a Classic/Challenge Co-Championship at the Bonanza Cutting in Glen Flora, Texas. His victory aboard Sly Playgirl in Tulsa Monday marked his first outright win.
He’s having his career-best season at an opportune time. Snider and his wife, standout non-pro rider Ashley Smith Snider, have a son, Stone, who will turn 2 on June 10. They are also expecting their second child soon.
“It (winning his first two career Open titles during early 2012) feels great,” Snider said. “There’s always more to accomplish, but it makes you feel better about what you are doing and how you are doing it. You know you can compete with all these other guys, and it makes you feel pretty good.”
Slate River Ranch, Weatherford, Texas, bred Sly Playgirl. It sold her to Robert Borick, Weatherford, Texas, as a 3-year-old. Borick sold her to De Armas.
“When I bought her, he [Snider] presented her to me,” De Armas said. “It [keeping the horse in Snider’s training program] was always a part of the deal. I always wanted to leave her with him, because he was doing a great job with her.”
The deal has worked out well for the horse, too. Not quite halfway through her 5-year-old season, Sly Playgirl has carried Snider and De Armas to cutting earnings totaling more than $200,000. If all goes well, she and De Armas could also add to that total.
“This is our biggest win so far,” De Amas said. “It’s awesome. There are no words I can use to describe her, or what Jaime has done with her. I’m very proud of both.”Reserve Champion SDP Locked N Loaded (Laredo Blue x Cat Tuesday x High Brow Cat), a gelding trained and ridden by Michael Cooper, Weatherford, Texas, finished a strong second with a 221.5 to earn $40,532. The horse, owned by Gary Rosenbach, Stephenville, Texas previously earned $16,558. She earned part of that a few weeks ago by reaching the NCHA Super Stakes Open finals in Fort Worth, Texas with Cooper.
During the Special 5 Open finals, Cooper placed fifth with another horse owned by Rosenbach, Tapt Out, with a 219, and he to earn $17,228, and he finished 18th with a 213 to earn $10,117 aboard Sir Stylish Lizzy, a horse that his wife, Jennifer Cooper, owns.
Sunday’s Classic/Challenge Open Champions with a 224.5 score, One Time Royalty and Lloyd Cox, Fort Morgan, Colo., finished third in Monday’s Special 5 Open with a 220.5. Their combined earnings from the two finishes, $61,079, pushed the stallion’s career total over the $390,000 mark. The One Time Pepto-sired stallion, out of Shorty Lena mare Royal Serena Belle, will get one more chance to top $400,000 this season. He’ll compete again at July’s NCHA Summer Spectacular Cutting in Fort Worth, Texas.
The 2010 NCHA Futurity Open Champion, owned by SDM Quarter Horses, Queensland, Australia, has competed sparingly, but well, since his purchase last August from former owners Jeffrey and Sheri Matthews, Weatherford, Texas.
One Time Royalty Become Two-Time Champion
One Time Royalty and Lloyd Cox, Fort Morgan, Colo., marked a 224.5 during the May 13 Breeder’s Invitational Classic/Challenge Open cutting finals in Tulsa, Okla, to earn $34,703.
One Time Royalty has been a star attraction and a sought-after stallion since the athletic and smooth-moving horse debuted by winning the 2010 National Cutting Horse Association Futurity Open with a record 230 during December of his 3-year-old season.
While crossing the $300,000 mark and making several more finals since then, the now 5-year-old (One Time Pepto x Royal Serena Belle x Shorty Lena) teamed with his career-long trainer Lloyd Cox this time for the duo’s second signature win.
“It’s been a while,” Cox said when asked about the time span between he and One Time Royalty’s first and second cutting titles. It actually was the first limited-age title Cox had won since he and One Time Royalty won the 2010 NCHA Futurity Open finals in December of that season.
“It’s definitely good to be back (in the winner’s circle with One Time Royalty),” Cox said. “He’s been knocking on the door a lot lately, and it was good to get it done again. It’s his first win since the Futurity (the 2010 NCHA Futurity Open title, which earned a cool $250,000 check to launch his career). He’s had some seconds and thirds. He was really good tonight. I was proud to get him shown well. It went like we wanted it to.”
One Time Royalty and Cox also finished third in Monday’s Special 5 Open finals with a 220.5. Their combined earnings from the two finishes, $61,079, pushed the stallion’s career total over the $390,000 mark. One Time Royalty will get one more chance to top $400,000 this season. He’ll compete again at July’s NCHA Summer Spectacular Cutting in Fort Worth, Texas.
Bred by Double Dove Ranch, which is owned by Gail Holmes, Benbrook, Texas, One Time Royalty had been owned by Jeffrey and Sheri Matthews, Weatherford, Texas, until Merchant bought him last August. Since then, he’s kept on competing, but has also taken periodic breaks to fulfill substantial breeding commitments in two continents. He’/s been owned since last August by Australia-based breeder Sue Merchant,
Cox often speaks with the horse’s present owner, Merchant, on the phone. To this day, he’s never met her in person. She’s also never seen the horse – aside from pictures and watching live Internet feeds whenever One Time Royalty competes.
“She has been really good to visit with on the phone,” Cox said. “We get along well, and she’s been a really good owner. She knows to get up and watch it (One Time Royalty via the Internet while he’s competing at cuttings). I think she is enjoying it. She bought a good horse. I guess it’s paying off a little bit for her.”
After somewhat off an off year as a 4-year-old, One Time Royalty has earned nearly $100,000 during the first few months of 2012. He has a chance to add a lot more today. One Time Royalty had topped $360,000 in career earnings heading into today’s finals.Reserve Champion horse Stylish Martini, trained and ridden by Roger Wagner, Weatherford, Texas, settled for second and $28,465 with a strong but slightly-flawed 223.
“The cows got away from me a little bit on the cuts, but she went and got them. She’s got a lot of eye appeal,” Wagner said. “We cut pretty good cows, I thought. They just got away from me on the cuts a little bit. The rest of it, she made up for.”
Wagner’s only regret after the run was that he and Stylish Martin, Derby Open Champions at last July’s NCHA Summer Spectacular in Fort Worth, Texas, were not eligible to also compete in today’s Special 5 Open finals.
The 5-year-old mare, out of Freckles Playboy mare Miss Martini Play, and sired by Docs Stylish Oak, wasn’t eligible to compete because her sire, already deceased at the time of her conception, wasn’t subscribed to the BI Derby Open program last year.
“I wish that she was (eligible for the Special 5 Open),” Wagner said. “I’m just glad that we were able to win a check that was pretty good.”
Stylish Martini, owned by Marvine Ranch, Meeker, Colo., headed to the show with $172,595 in career earnings. She topped the $200,000 mark with her No. 2 finish.
Six-year-old mare Special Nu Baby and Matt Gaines, who set the pace in Saturday’s second go with the standout horse’s career-best 227.5 effort, finished a strong third Sunday with a 222 finish. The horse has now earned about $330,000 despite only getting to compete at two shows during her 5-year-old season. She’s bounced back strong this year and has a strong shot at becoming the fourth horse Gaines has topped $400,000 with.
Owner Luis De Armas wins with Sly Playgirl, too
Sly Playgirl, the mare who carried Burleson, Texas, trainer Jaime Snider to a victory in the May 14 Breeder’s Invitational cutting Special 5 Open finals with a 224, carried her owner Luis De Armas, Boca Rotan, Fla., to three Non-Pro finals, including a win in the May 19 Classic/Challenge Limited Non-Pro with a 223.,
De Armas and the standout horse nicknamed "Grace" were also the overall Classic/Challenge Non-Pro Reserve Champions with a 219 effort the previous day.
The horse and the owner’s BI winning streak lasted a week and a half. Sharing the fun with two riders, Sly Playgirl completed nine trips to the cutting pen in nine days. She did it without any bad efforts, and with several outstanding ones. She reached five finals, and she earned about $120,000, including healthy stallion and broodmare incentives paid out to those owners.
“If that was not perfect, I don’t know what perfect is going to be. It couldn’t be any better. She was awesome every run,” De Armas said of his horse. He spoke right before heading to the airport Saturday afternoon to rejoin his wife and their daughters, ages 9 and 11, in Boca Rotan, Fla. “She’s been through nine runs in nine days. It couldn’t have been any better in the Open, and it couldn’t have been any better for me. I don’t think it’s going to get any better than this. We’ve been very lucky. She’s been awesome, almost unbelievable.”
The good luck actually started last July, when De Armas bought Sly Playgirl, a 2007 mare bred by Slate River Ranch, Weatherford, Texas, sired by That Sly Cat, and out of a Freckles Playboy mare, Taquitas Playgirl. Since then, she’s carried De Armas and Snider to a steady string of finals in the Non-Pro and the Open.
Sly Playgirl headed to Tulsa with $120,735 in prior career earnings. That was through April of her 5-year-old season. She about doubled that in Tulsa.
After guiding his mare to a winning 223 during Saturday morning’s Limited Non-pro finals to earn $6,720, De Arams, 37, a food and grain products importer and Venezuela native, watched one more horse that he owns mark a 215 with trainer Paul Hansma, Weatherford, during the Derby Open first go. The he headed home.
This week will be a great one for De Armas, too. He will not compete with the same 4-year-old gelding Hansma’s riding in the Open as a Non-Pro rider only because he has much more pressing business back home.
“My oldest daughter, Alisia (age 9), is going to have her First Communion next Saturday. So of course, I’m going to be there,” the businessman, cutter and family man said. He and his wife, Gloria, also have a younger daughter, Manuela, 6.
De Armas practices cutting early most mornings before heading to his Florida office with one of two practice horses he keeps there. He will meet up with Sly Playgirl again in July at the NCHA Summer Spectacular cutting in Fort Worth.
A three-time limited-age champion when he competed as an Amateur, De Armas won a Limited Non-Pro pencil finals title at a West Texas Futurity event in Amarillo a couple of years ago. Saturday’s victory, though, was the first limited-age title he had won in a finals since stepping up to the Non-Pro division in 2011.
De Armas and Sly Playgirl finished as the Limited Non-Pro Reserve Champions at the NCHA Super Stakes in Fort Worth last month. They also finished as BI’s Classic/Challenge Non-Pro Co-Reserve Champions, while taking on an extremely strong field during Friday’s night’s finals.
“Competing Friday night, against riders like Mary Ann Rapp and Dustin Adams (cutting’s all No. 1 and No. 2 all-time Non-Pro riders, both with career earnings exceeding $3 million), what else can you say?” said De Armas, an earner of $125,622 before he came here. He and Sly Playgirl earned $37,524 in Tulsa.
While crediting Sly Playgirl’s trainer, Jaime Snider, his primary cutting horse trainer, Paul Hansma, all of his herd helpers and his hard-working barn crew, De Armas made sure even more credit went where it was due obviously most due.
“As the rider, we need to do our job, but it is basically what kind of horsepower you have,” De Armas said. “She won the Special 5 Open and she had a great run in the 5- and 6-Year-Old Open. She was top-notch with a very good crew. I think she’s a once-in-a lifetime horse.”Limited Non-Pro Reserve Champion rider Ashley Galyean, Amarillo, Texas, finished second with a 219 and earned $6,202. She had not ridden horses much until marrying cutting trainer Beau Galyean about seven years ago. She just started competing as a cutting rider about three years ago.
Ashley and Beau shared rides aboard SVR Reyl Smart, a 2008 gelding trained and ridden to substantial earnings by Beau. They bought him right before the show.
Beau Galyean and “R.J.,” bred and owned until recently by Strawn Valley Ranch, Strawn, Texas, sired by Dual Rey, and out of The Smart Look, cutting’s top living broodmare, didn’t advance in the Open. In the Non-Pro, thought, Ashley Galyean and the gelding reached three finals, and earned four checks, also including a Co-Reserve title in the Special 5 Non-Pro. It was based on a two-go 434.5 during two preliminary rounds. They earned a combined $31,693 at the show.
Ashely would like to learn a lot more about cutting with many more rides on the couple’s talented new horse. Beau complimented his wife’s great composure during the event, and said if she keeps riding him like that, she’ll increase his value as much or more than any continued Open success that he might have.
After she showed in the first go round (and marked a 218.5), we had two people ask about the horse,” Beau Galyean said. “When people can see a Non-Pro get along with a horse as well as the trainer does, that really opens a lot of doors. We all want those kinds of horses.”