The 4-Year-Old Open finals, held the evening of Jan. 21, wrapped up the last day of the Augusta Futurity. With 20 horses vying for the title and two bunches of tough cattle, the finals proved difficult, but Reyzurbetsonthiscat overcame the challenges and took home his latest title to add to his collection.
The Linda Holsey-bred gelding (Bet Hesa Cat x Ariel Rey x Dual Rey) carried owner Barnwell Ramsey to the 2016 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Amateur Championship last year. In Augusta, Georgia, he and Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Rider Craig Thompson marked a 223 to secure their victory. The score topped the 220 the duo previously marked that won the go-round. For the win in the finals, they received a $10,000 check, boosting “Rey” to earnings of more than $30,000.
Rey and Thompson also made the finals of the Mercuria Open. Though they lost a cow, that finals helped Thompson prepare Rey a little more before going into the 4-Year-Old Open.
“He’s just a good horse,” Thompson said of why he showed Rey in the Mercuria. “There’s just one go and the finals, so I was just treating it like another go-round, to kind of build up and just continue to get him more polished for the rest of the year. There were days in between; we weren’t going to be just doubled up every day, so he had time to rest as well.”
With two fractious sets of cattle, the 4-Year-Old Open finals proved difficult for several riders.
“Everybody had the intention of going down there and having a big time run and stuff, but we would get down there, and those cattle would get offended, and they would start blowing and going everywhere,” Thompson said. “Then you would try to idle everything back down, but it was just tough to build a run.”
LCS Silver Cat and Nick Pilcher originally set the top score from the fifth draw, a 218.5, which held until Thompson’s ride from the 16th hole. Pilcher and the grey Patrick and Laura Collins-bred stallion (High Brow Cat x Ms Silver Pitchfork x Playgun) took home the Reserve Championship and $9,000 to owner Larry Cooper, of Orleans, Indiana.
Thompson has been coming to the Augusta Futurity for almost 20 years.
“I just like it. Mr. Billy [Morris] and these guys, they really try to put on a really good show,” said Thompson, of Buffalo, Texas. “I like the hospitality. Another thing I like is they’re trying to improve their show. They’re trying to make some adjustments to make this a better show next year. I don’t get too excited about the drive, but once you get out here, it’s a nice show.
“I thought it was a great show this year,” he continued. “It had a great vibe to it, a great tone to it. Everybody I was associated with out at the practice facility and around here had a good, positive feeling about it.”
He plans to continue to show Rey in the Open.
“If we get into one of the major events and I don’t do as well, Barney may get on him and show him, but the plan is we just try to focus on the Open for him right now, develop him, try to get his earnings up best we can and maintain him,” Thompson explained. “This is all about Barney, and what he accomplished at the Futurity was a great thing and meant a lot to me. I want him to do well too, but we’re trying to maintain the horse as well. That’s our No. 1 priority.”
4-Year-Old Futurity Non-Pro on page 2