Boonbay Cat, a 4-year-old bred and owned by NCHA President Barbara Brooks’ Painted Springs Farm, of Nashville, Tenn., carried trainer Brad Mitchell to an early 219 and a victory worth $11,580 Tuesday during the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Super Stakes Gelding Open finals.
The win provided Mitchell, a career earner of more than $2.5 million as a cutting rider, with his first Triple Crown victory in Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Coliseum. The horse, a career earner of $5,735, and Brooks had made the Unlimited Amateur finals the 2013 NCHA Futurity to secure about half of that total.
While Brooks has fared well with Boonbay Cat, Mitchell hadn’t achieved much success with the horse. “Nothing had really clicked,” Mitchell said. “He hadn’t done horribly, and he didn’t get greatly better. It’s just falling into place right now.”
Boonbay Cat and Mitchell marked 216 and 21.5 scores in the first two rounds of last week’s Super Stakes Open competition. They will try to make Saturday’s Open finals while competing in the third of five sets during Friday’s 63-horse Open semifinals.
Posting another strong score did nothing but build the horse’s confidence heading into the semifinals, the trainer added. “He’s a horse that doesn’t seem to get tired,” Mitchell said. “When I got done today [Tuesday], he wasn’t even breathing hard.”
Painted Springs Farm bred Boonbay Cat, produced by its 2001 mare Boonbay Smash (Peptoboonsmal x Kimberlena x Doc Olena). His sire is cutting’s all-time leader High Brow Cat. Barbara and her husband, country music singer and radio host Kix Brooks, bought Boonbay Cat as a late yearling in 2002, and the mare became a career earner of $127,452 with Mitchell in the saddle. Their many finals included an April 2006 10th-place finish in the Super Stakes Classic Open finals worth $12,231.
One Time Smarty (One Time Pepto x Spookys Smarty Pants x Smart Aristocrat) and Gary Gonsalves, of Millsap, Texas, were Gelding Open Reserve Champions with a 216 to earn $10,007. The horse, bred and owned by Iron Rose Ranch, of Carbondale, Colo., had not competed since the NCHA Futurity, where they made the second go.
“I’d take another 216 Friday,” said Gonsalves, referring to Friday’s Open semifinals, where they will compete again.