Bamacat and Austin Shepard Secure Augusta Futurity Classic Open Title

bamacatBamacat and Austin Shepard • Hart PhotosBamacat and the highly regarded 5-year-old stallion’s career-long trainer Austin Shepard finally broke into the win column Friday in Augusta, Ga., winning the Augusta Futurity Classic Open title with a dominant 225.

Bamacat, bred by Shepard and his wife, Stacy, is sired by cutting’s all-time leading stallion High Brow Cat and is out of the San Tules Freckle mare MH San Tules Dually. He is now owned by a syndicate, and had already earned more than $200,000 heading into the Augusta Futurity. This was the first time, though, that he’d actually earned top honors at a big show. That was much more important than the $11,000 check he secured.

“We’ve been second at two or three of them,” Shepard said of the stallion, who earned about half of his career bankroll by finishing third in the 2012 National Cutting Horse Association Futurity Open. “I believed in him since the first time I showed him a cow. It’s pretty neat how many people bought into his potential and bought into shares in him before he ever showed.”

“I feel good for the horse, but you always feel good for the owners, because they put a lot of faith in you, and a lot of money, too,” said Shepard, 36, who also competes with four horses in tonight’s Futurity Open finals. Horses ridden by Austin’s 19-year-old brother, Harris, and his father, Sam, 67, both of Verdena, Ala., also compete in tonight’s Open finals. Austin’s wife, Stacy, and his 12-year-old son, Cade, are competing in tonight’s Futurity Non-Pro finals.

Shorty Smooth, a 2009 gelding ridden by Gabe Reynolds, of Simpsonville, Ky., and owned by Doug Secrest, of Blacklick, Ohio, finished second in Friday’s Classic Open finals with a 220 to earn $10,000. The horse, by Smooth As A Cat and out of Short And Stylish, a Playin Stylish mare, had previously earned $8,083.