The National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Summer Spectacular was packed with exciting moments. But hidden behind the thrill of a Non-Pro Triple Crown winner and several repeat champions with huge scores was a unique pattern in the draws and results.
On Saturday, Aug. 6, cutting fans filed into the Will Rogers Coliseum for the final day of the Summer Spectacular. Just 15 days earlier, they watched Reyzin The Cash and Gary Gonsalves come from draw 17 in the Classic/Challenge Open finals to win the class with a stellar 229. It was an encore of the duo’s performance at the same show last year, where they won the Derby Open with a 227 (a difference of 2 points). But there were even more patterns developing!
As the last night kicked off with the Derby Non-Pro, A Smooth Satin Doll (Smooth As A Cat x Autumn Boon x Dual Pep) and Kyle Manion walked to the herd first. They put up a score of 220, forcing the rest of their competitors to chase them, and that strategy paid off until draw 17. Armando Costa Neto and Watch Me Whip (Playgun x Look The Look x High Brow Cat) took over the show with their 221, but a review meant the official winner was yet to be determined.
In the Derby Open, something similar happened and the pattern continued. John Mitchell piloted MK Cats Kitty (Spots Hot x MK Cats Lil Kitty x High Brow Cat) from the first draw to a big 223. Horses and riders with incredible records tried to match that mark, but one by one, they fell short. Yet again, draw 17 was the magic number. Moms Stylish Player (Lizzys Gotta Player x Moms Stylish Babe x Docs Stylish Oak) and Kenny Platt posted a 226 for the lead; however, another “R” appeared, indicating the judges would review the run and possibly adjust the score.
Both Watch Me Whip and Moms Stylish Player had found their way to victory at April’s NCHA Super Stakes, and both horses were on hold after their respective classes at the Derby until the scores became official. In both cases, the horse from draw one was one that had marked high scores in the go-rounds and semifinals, and they were both waiting in the wings to steal the wins if the reviews resulted in reduced scores.
When NCHA announcer Tom Holt stepped to the microphone and called out that the scores had been adjusted, both Costa Neto and Platt were sweating and holding their breath. And in each case, the score was adjusted up!
Costa Neto and Watch Me Whip went from a 221 to a 223.5 (a difference of 2.5 points), and Moms Stylish Player and Platt went from a 226 to a 228 (a difference of 2 points). The celebration for both horse-and-rider teams quickly ensued, and the rest is history!