The National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity is known for launching many a cutting horse’s career. It is what riders aim for with their top prospects, and the atmosphere reflects the excitement in the air. With the bright arena lights, roaring crowds and flashing cameras, it’s hard to not feel like a celebrity in the Will Rogers Coliseum.
The Futurity Non-Pro finals, held Dec. 10, was packed full of talented horses and riders, but it was Armando Costa Neto and Barrinha LLC’s Watch Me Whip who came from the fifth draw in the 24-horse finals to mark a 224. The audience cheered as Costa Neto, who is originally from Brazil but is now living in Weatherford, Texas, cut his three cows, then applauded wildly when the scoreboard lit up. Though other riders attempted to match the score, none could, and Costa Neto went home with the Futurity Non-Pro Championship and a paycheck worth $27,852.
The timing of the victory was somewhat bittersweet as Watch Me Whip is by the late Playgun, who was euthanized the day before the finals. She is out of Look The Look, a High Brow Cat mare who won approximately $174,000 in the cutting pen. Costa Neto rode Look The Look at the 2011 NCHA Futurity, where they placed fourth. They went on to win the 2014 Cattlemen’s Derby & Classic 5/6 Non-Pro. Watch Me Whip is her first money-earning offspring.
Costa Neto trained “Beretta” himself and said he knew from the beginning that she was going to be a cutting horse, describing her as a “true cow horse.”
“She was a great 2-year-old, and she’s never had a soundness problem,” he said. He’s looking forward to showing the mare in the future.
Michelle Cowan and Iridescent Cat were one of the teams that came closest to Costa Neto’s score when they marked a 218. Ashley Flynn, of Weatherford, Texas, and LHR Smooth James Rey also marked a 218. For the Co-Reserve Championship, each duo received $26,736. Iridescent Cat (Catty Hawk x Smart Lookin Hi Brow x High Brow Hickory) is owned by Cowan Ranch Inc., of Ardmore, Oklahoma. LHR Smooth James Rey (Dual Rey x LHR Smooth Jamie May x Smooth As A Cat) belongs to Flynn and her husband, Sean Flynn.
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