The Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association (PCCHA) Core Balance Derby and Classic/Challenge isn’t all about limited-age horses. It’s also a place for aged horses to show their stuff, and Cyndi Cat, ridden by Mike Wood, did just that at the Las Vegas show.
Wood, of Scottsdale, Arizona, was the only rider to qualify two horses to the Mercuria/National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) World Series of Cutting Open finals at the SouthPoint Hotel and Casino. He and Cyndi Cat (WR This Cats Smart x Dox Little Cindy x Peppy San Badger) set the pace early, marking a 227 from the second draw.
From the 11th and final draw, Wood walked to the herd aboard Smart Stingrey (Dual Rey x Smart Sandhill Kay x Smart Mate), knowing he had the Open Championship secured. He and the 9-year-old gelding marked a 222 to finish fourth.
Cyndi Cat, an 8-year-old mare owned by Dr. Gerald Dorros, of Wilson, Wyoming, and bred by Jerry and Melinda Black, of Loveland, Colorado, earned $6,541 for her win, adding to the $18,517 she already had in NCHA Open money for 2015. Smart Stingrey, who came into the Mercuria ranked third in the Open with $18,517, added a $4,221 paycheck to his résumé. Wood himself is nearing the $1 million milestone.
The Mercuria Open Reserve title went to Clarke Butte Ranch’s 9-year-old mare Pounce (High Brow Cat x Haidas Little Shorty x Haidas Little Pep), ridden by Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider Morgan Cromer, of Templeton, California. Pounce’s 225-scored performance earned her a check worth $5,768, bringing her lifetime earnings to more than $221,000.
Reigning NCHA Non-Pro World Champion Constance Jaeggi, of Weatherford, Texas, said she didn’t feel any pressure this year to defend her title. She set a goal last year to win the World, and since she accomplished that, 2015 is all about fun.
That lack of pressure hasn’t diminished Jaeggi’s competitive spirit, though, and it certainly hasn’t taken away from Saguaro Ichi’s talent in the show pen. The duo marked a huge 227 from the sixth draw in the 11-horse Mercuria Non-Pro finals, taking the win by a 6-point margin.
Saguaro Ichi (Cat Ichi x Playboys Heidi x Freckles Playboy) is owned by Jaeggi’s Gene Power LLC and was bred by EE Ranches of Texas Inc., of Whitesboro, Texas. The 9-year-old gelding boasted an Equi-Stat record of more than $213,000 when he arrived in Vegas, and this win added $7,067 to the pot, more than doubling Jaeggi’s 2015 NCHA Non-Pro earnings.
A 221 earned Cade Shepard, of Summerdale, Alabama, and Some Kinda Highbrow (High Brow CD x Some Kinda Memories x Smart Little Lena), bred by the Shrontz Family Ltd. Partners, of Beaumont, Texas, the Mercuria Non-Pro Co-Reserve Championship. The duo tied with Stacie McDavid, of Fort Worth, Texas, and Starz N Boon (Peptoboonsmal x Staraleno x Grays Starlight), bred by Marvine Ranch, of Meeker, Colorado. Each team took home a $5,775 check.
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