Two mares, Eazee E and Deluxe Checks, were running 1-2 atop the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Open World standings going into the El Rancho Futurity.
The most recent tally showed Kevin and Sydney Knight’s Eazee E trailing Deluxe Checks by almost $15,000 going into the California event, but she and Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider Tatum Rice did everything they could to take a big chunk out of that lead. Their 228-point performance in the El Rancho Futurity Mercuria Open finals was just enough to edge past the 227 marked by Reserve Champions Maid Of Metal and Morgan Cromer.
It was worth $13,124, pushing her World Championship earnings to nearly $90,000 for the year. Bred by Frank and Belinda Vandersloot, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, Eazee E is by High Brow Cat and out of Zee Dually (by Dual Pep). She now has more than $175,000 in lifetime earnings.
Cromer, of Templeton, California, and Maid Of Metal (Metallic Cat x Pretty Smart Kitty x Smart Little Richochet) earned $9,289 for the runner-up spot.
Lauren Middleton, of Weatherford, Texas, also did her best to jump up in the World standings with a victory in the Mercuria Non-Pro.
She and the 2008 gelding Sweet Reyvenge (Reys Dual Badger x Sweet Camille x Chicks Achy Braky) won the Championship with a 222. They also landed the big $11,207 first-place prize.
Going into the El Rancho Futurity, Middleton’s $27,173 in earnings for the World title race had her in 11th place in a tight race – roughly $3,000 separated the seventh-place rider from the 12th-place rider – according to the most recent data put out by the NCHA.
Sweet Reyvenge was bred by Bobby and Francie Butler, of Weatherford, Texas. The win pushed his lifetime earnings to nearly $140,000.
Reserve Champions Carol Ward and Spooked By A Cat (Cat Ichi x San Starlight x Grays Starlight) marked a 218. They picked up $8,809 for the Reserve Championship.