The El Rancho Futurity and Foothill Fiesta brought elite cutting horses and their riders to Rancho Murieta, California, Sept. 6-14 for a chance at big checks. The event was spectator friendly and offered plenty of opportunities for cutters to enjoy their trip to Carol Ward’s facility.
The Futurity Open finals saw a tie for top honors when Metallic Flo and Smooth Cowstruck marked matching 220 scores. Each horse earned $12,750 for the Co-Championship.
Smooth Cowstruck, who drew second with Equi-Stat Elite $7 Million Rider Matt Gaines, of Weatherford, Texas, came into the finals with go-round scores of 215 and 215.5. The 3-year-old mare (Smooth As A Cat x Cowstruck x Smart Little Lena), owned and bred by Reata Cutting Horses LLC, of Weatherford, turned it up a notch in the finals to impress the judges.
The pressure was on for Metallic Flo at draw No. 9. Piloted by Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider Grant Setnicka, of Grandview, Texas, the Metallic Cat mare rose to the occasion to tie with Gaines and Smooth Cowstruck. Metallic Flo is out of Zacks J Flo, a money-earning daughter of Mr Peponita Flo with nearly $30,000 to her credit.
Matt Gaines is a legend in the industry, and he proved why at El Rancho when he took home more than one victory. Before tying for the Futurity Open title, he rode Kitkat (Peptoboonsmal x Kittens x High Brow Cat) to a 222 in the 15-horse Derby Open finals, securing the win and a $9,000 paycheck for owners Gary and Shannon Barker, of Madill, Oklahoma.
Kitkat, bred by Frank and Bonnie Martin, of Las Vegas, is the seventh money-earner out of Kittens, according to Equi-Stat. She is a full sister to 2009 gelding Kittens N The King, who has amassed cutting earnings in excess of $80,000, and to 2009 mare Kitty Boon ($64,644).
The Derby Open Reserve title, along with a $7,500 paycheck, went to Classy CD Cat (High Brow Cat x Classical CD x CD Olena) and Adan Banuelos, of Granbury, Texas. Owned by breeders Bobby and Dottie Hill, of Glen Rose, Texas, the 4-year-old mare topped the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open in 2014.