A 227 posted Saturday, May 26, by cutting stallion Lil Catbaloo gave trainer and rider Lloyd Cox his second straight Breeder’s Invitational (BI) Derby Open victory. It was an exciting day for owners Gene and Michelle Morris, who were there to celebrate their first “rock star” horse’s win.
Five months through his 4-year-old season, Lil Catbaloo (High Brow Cat x Sweet Lil Boo x Peptoboonsmal) has earned $263,970 – including the $90,395 that he secured with his strong effort on the final day of the May 11-25 BI limited-age cutting in Tulsa, Okla.
Gene Morris, an oral and facial surgeon, and his wife, Michelle, a dental hygienist, have owned cutting horses for five years. A few prior investments fared reasonably well, but they upgraded their program considerably when they bought Lil Catbaloo as a long yearling from breeder John Harrah, Reno, Nev.
“This is our first rock star,” Michelle said as she and her husband prepared to pick up their Championship trophy, check and other awards in the Ford Truck Arena at Tulsa’s Expo Square. “I love him, and it feels great.”
Cox, Fort Morgan, Colo., won last year’s BI Derby Open title aboard Hottish, a now 5-year-old mild-mannered stallion (Spots Hot x Stylish Play Lena x Docs Stylish Oak) still owned by Dustin and Deena Adams, Dublin, Texas. Christina, Lloyd’s wife and non-pro, prepares horses for her husband at shows. She said Lil Catbaloo reminds her of Hottish.
She explained that as electric and exciting as both can get inside the cutting pen, they seem calm, cool and collected the moment they walk out. Just a few minutes after competing in the Open finals, Lil Catbaloo walked around the loping pen with Christina and the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, Leighton, sharing the same saddle.
“He’s really good-minded and he’s easy to be around,” Cox said. “He’s a pleasure to work and to ride and do anything with.”
“I’d like to make it an annual deal, but this is not easy to do,” Cox said, regarding his second consecutive BI Derby Open win.
Mary Ann Rapp and Reyzin finished fifth in the BI Derby Non-Pro finals Saturday to earn $15,284 and push the mare past the $100,000 earnings mark. A couple of hours later, her husband, Phil, helped the horse halfway to the $200,000 milestone, as their 221.5 score earned more than $50,000 for the Derby Open Reserve title.
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