On Saturday, Aug. 6, Fort Worth, Texas and the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) witnessed history in the making. At the NCHA Summer Spectacular, the Derby Open Championship went to recent Super Stakes Open winners Moms Stylish Player and Kenny Platt. In the Derby Non-Pro, the association celebrated its first-ever Triple Crown winner in the division.
From the first draw in the Derby Open finals, MK Cats Kitty and John Mitchell set the bar high with a 223. It was not until Platt rode “Sprout” from draw 17 that the score would lose the lead. A 226 with a review was posted to the scoreboard, and after a long wait at the end of the finals, that mark was adjusted to a 228.
“That horse is unbelievable,” Platt said. “That’s really about all I can say after that run.”
Platt, of Fort Lupton, Colorado, and Robert Tregemba’s Moms Stylish Player (Lizzys Gotta Player x Moms Stylish Babe x Docs Stylish Oak) topped the Super Stakes Open in April with the same score. This time, they took home a $64,327 paycheck for the title, not including the money they earned for also winning the Derby Gelding Open class.
Mitchell and MK Cats Kitty (Spots Hot x MK Cats Lil Kitty x High Brow Cat), owned and bred by Slate River Ranch, of Weatherford, Texas, garnered $35,234 for finishing second.
All eyes were on Watch Me Whip and Armando Costa Neto in the Derby Non-Pro finals. The duo had won the 2015 NCHA Futurity and tied for the championship in the Super Stakes Non-Pro. If they could secure another first-place finish in Fort Worth, they would go down in history as the first Non-Pro Triple Crown Champions – and they did.
From draw 17, the Weatherford, Texas-based cutter and his mare (Playgun x Look The Look x High Brow Cat) marked a 221, taking the lead by a single point. But the scoreboard showed a review, and a long wait had Costa Neto’s nerves at an all-time high after the finals concluded. The judges came back with an adjustment, raising the score to a 223.5.
“That was a little scary,” Costa Neto said. “But that mare does so good every time.”
With this win, Watch Me Whip also secured the Non-Pro Horse of the Year title. According to the NCHA rulebook, any horse that wins all three Fort Worth majors automatically receives the prestigious distinction.
Kyle Manion, of Aubrey, Texas, and A Smooth Satin Doll (Smooth As A Cat x Autumn Boon x Dual Pep), owned by Manion’s father, Tommy, and bred by Karen Freeman, marked a 220 from draw one to set the pace. That score held for the Reserve title, worth $17,792.
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