The 22 finalists in the 2014 Great American Insurance/NCHA Derby Non-Pro finals Saturday afternoon had to work to earn their share of the $362,543 purse. The co-champions, Armando Costa Neto and Page Bowman, each earned a 218 in the first set, and the scores held to the end.
Costa Neto of Weatherford, Texas, and Ms Regret (High Brow CD x Peptos Stylish Miss x Peptoboonsmal) were sixth to work. The 4-year-old mare was bred by Glade Knight and entered the finals with lifetime earnings of $26,802. Twenty-two-year-old Costa Neto added to his lifetime total earnings of $589,853, too.
Bowman, a 17-year-old from Simpsonville, Kentucky, was eighth to work in the first set and was riding Big Daddys CD (High Brow CD x Snazzy Easter Bunny xSmart Sugar Badger), who was the Open Reserve Champion at the Augusta Futurity. Big Daddys CD was bred by Mike and Libby Bowman, and Page won the Junior Youth at the NCHA Eastern Nationals on the gelding’s dam.
“The first set, it looked like the cows started off pretty rough,” Bowman said. “We just wanted to go in there and have a clean, solid run and make sure that we had clean cuts and didn’t make mistakes. And we did so that was good. The second cow was faster and I might have lost my stirrup for a couple of turns. I got it back and we were able to finish strong.”
“It was fun,” Costa Neto said after the finals. “I was a little bit scared of those cows because they were a little bit frisky. The first cow was really, really good. That’s what made the run – to start real strong. The mare has such a pretty way of moving that I think that’s what got us the score.”
Costa Neto and Bowman were busy Saturday afternoon as they each qualified two to the Derby Non-Pro finals. As co-champions, Costa Neto and Bowman split the champion and reserve champion’s checks, each taking home $17,430.