Kevin Murray and Travelin Smooth, winners of Aug. 2’s Derby Limited Non-Pro finals with a 220 at the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Summer Spectacular, had never competed together until the July 13-Aug. 3 Fort Worth show.
The 21-year-old University of Denver senior finance student and the 4-year-old gelding, sired by the stallion Smooth As A Cat and out of the Travalena mare, Travalano Missy, earned $11,961 with Friday’s victory. They compete again during Saturday’s Derby Non-Pro finals in Will Rogers Coliseum. They qualified for two Amateur division finals and the Derby Gelding Non-Pro finals earlier at the show.
“That’s the best run I’ve ever had, and this is the best show I’ve ever had. It might be the best show I’ll ever have,” Murray said following his most profitable ride so far. Murray and the horse called “Travis” are improving each time they compete, he said.
Kevin’s parents, Mission Hills, Kan., residents Brian and Karen Murray, bought Travelin Smooth as a yearling at a sale in Fort Worth, at their son’s strong suggestion. The horse had been trained and successfully ridden solely by Michael Cooper of Weatherford, Texas in Open events until this show. Travelin Smooth headed to the event with more than $100,000 already earned. He has added to that by making five finals in his first five limited-age events with Kevin Murray on board.
Murray and Travlin Smooth will add to their earnings again during Saturday’s Derby Non-Pro finals, starting shortly after 3 p.m. in the same Fort Worth arena. The two-set Derby Open finals follow the completion of Saturday’s two-set Non-Pro finals.
Bush, La. resident Missy Jean Oehlhof and Light Of Grace, a mare sired by CD Lights and produced by the Dual Pep mare, Graciela Dual, finished as Reserve Champions with a 215 to earn $11,170. They also compete in Saturday’s Derby Non-Pro finals.
Janet Trefethen of Napa, Calif., and her mare Smooth Olivia finished third with a 214 to earn $10,383. They earned another $2,400 as Derby Limited Non-Pro Senior Champions. The longtime cutter and winemaker and her horse missed making the Derby Non-Pro finals by just a half point with a 213.5 during Thursday’s semifinals.
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