Im Licken Checks and Brent Erickson started about as well as a cutting horse and trainer can by marking a first-go 222 Friday then adding a 218 Saturday to earn a combined $7,586 and the South Point Futurity Open Championship with a 440 composite.
Nurse Kitty Kat and Tim Smith were the Reserve Champions with a two-go 436.5. They earned $6,716 for the mare’s owners Jack and Sherry Cowan, of Payson, Ariz.
Erickson has worked on his own as a trainer 12 years, including the past seven in Wilton, Calif. This is the first time he’s worked with Im Licken Checks’ owners, Las Vegas residents and non-pro riders Frank and Bonnie Martin. They sent him a homebred gelding, sired by Im Countin Checks and out of their Playboys Badge mare PCR Ms Ginger.
“They just called and asked if I had room for a 2-year-old. I said, ‘Yeah,’ and it went on from there,” Erickson said. “He always felt like a really good horse, but you never know until you put your hand down at a show. He was a lot of fun,” Erickson said.
Smith, a champion in the Classic/Challenge Open finals earlier in the day, finished as the South Point Futurity Open Reserve rider for the second year in a row. The horse he finished second with last year was also owned by the Cowans. WR This Cats Smart, a stallion that Smith excelled with a few years ago, sired both horses.
“She wants to be a show horse, so we’ll see what happens,” Smith said of his new hot 3-year-old prospect.
Daintys Kual Kitty and Morgan Cromer Top South Point Derby Open with 225
Morgan Cromer rode five of eight horses in Friday’s South Point Futurity Derby Open finals and she won it with a 225 aboard Daintys Kual Kitty to earn $9,624.
“I’ve never been that busy,” said the Templeton, Calif., cutting horse trainer. She earned $23,055 in the event as her four other horses placed 4-7 in the same finals. “They were all good in the go-rounds and I was proud of them. I had pretty good odds in the finals.”
Champion mare Daintys Kual Kitty competed again later that day during the Derby Non-Pro first round with owner Julie Clarke, of Bend, Ore. Clarke acted on Cromer’s advice to buy the mare, by Dual Rey and out of the High Brow Cat mare Kats Dainty Gal, about six weeks before the show.
“She’s just a good-hearted mare,” Cromer said. “She’s real solid and simple. You can cut a lot of cow on her and still hold it.”
Russ Westfall, the Los Olivos, Calif., trainer Cromer worked with before striking out on her own, finished second in the finals with a 222 aboard Reckless Child. Westfall and his wife, Janet, own the mare they call Francine. She topped $60,000 in career earnings by adding $7,699 to her total.
My Lizzy Babe and Tim Smith Win a Shootout in South Point Classic Open
With a 225 already on the scoreboard, Tim Smith knew he’d need to ask 6-year-old cutting parter My Lizzy Babe for all that she had. The mare had enough to carry him to a 228 and a victory worth $10,476 in the South Point Futurity Classic/Challenge Open.
My Lizzy Babe, a career earner of more than $135,000 with Smith and her owner John Kratzer of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., sharing rides, matched her career-best score with a nearly flawless effort.
That’s exactly what she needed to do, after Jet, a 5-year-old gelding ridden by Russ Westfall, set the bar high with a 225 while competing third in the seven-horse set. My Lizzy Babe, certainly answered the call.
“Russ had a heck of a run on Jet,” Smith said of the mare, who is sired by Lizzys Gotta Player and out of the Docs Stylish Oak mare Moms Stylish Oak. “I had an awfully good run on her at El Rancho when she was 4 and won the Derby finals there, but this run was probably the best I’ve ever had on her. The score is irrelevant. It’s what it feels like. This run fit. I didn’t feel any pressure and she was just dead on target.”