Gianna Pietrafeso Wows in Denver

Gianna Pietrafeso & Smokin Tap • Photo by Alex Lynch

Gianna Pietrafeso walked to the herd in the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Transwest Denver Nationals $35,000 Non-Pro finals with the goal of having a clean run, but she came out with more than just an accurate performance.

She put together a flashy run on her family’s mare Smokin Tap (Smokin Trona x Tap O Lena x Doc O’Lena) and earned a hot 222 from the judges. Those high marks earned Pietrafeso and the 12-year-old Phil and Mary Ann Rapp-bred mare the Championship.

Pietrafeso formed a solid team with Smokin Tap from the start, and she was thrilled she was able to come out with a title-winning performance at the event.

“I wanted to go in there and have a clean run so I could score pretty good, but I didn’t know I would score that good,” Pietrafeso said. “It feels great.”

Paige Morse and Exotic Ride (Im Countin Checks x Little Exotic Dancer x Smart Little Lena) marked a big 222 for the Reserve Championship.

$5,000 Novice/Non-Pro

Robert Tregemba had confidence in his gelding Smooth Flow (Smooth As A Cat x Dual Flo x Dual Pep) during the $5,000 Novice/Non-Pro finals, but he knew he needed to put him in a good position to have a chance at the title.

Tregemba stayed focused, and his accurate run earned him a 215.5 and the Championship. Above everything, Tregemba was pleased he was able to showcase his gelding’s talent in the show pen.

“Today I rode him and set him up and made my cuts a little better than I do other times, and it turned out well for me,” Tregemba said.

A 215 earned Catherine Wunder and Cdcatinthemirror (CD Olena x Skat Cat Lena x High Brow Cat) the Reserve Championship.

$15,000 Amateur

In the 16-horse $15,000 Amateur finals, several combinations laid down impressive performances but one duo shined brighter than the rest.

Paul Pietz and his 8-year-old stallion Highrey Cat (Dual Rey x Lil Victory Cat x High Brow Cat) put together a 218 to claim the Championship.

The title was worth $3,388, which pushed Pietz’s lifetime earnings to $28,503. The stallion, bred by Andy Beckstein, now boasts an Equi-Stat record of more than $125,000.

Dannica Percevich and Imasmoothlittlecat (Smooth As A Cat x Little Lena Merada x Smart Little Lena) marked a 216.5 to pick up the Reserve Championship, worth $2,841.

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