Julie Sandford and Metallicexpectations, aka "Spec," topped the PCCHA Futurity Amateur. • Photo by Molly Montag

Sandford And “Spec” Sparkle In PCCHA Derby Amateur

Julie Sandford had visions of precious gems during the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association (PCCHA) Derby Amateur. She and her gelding, Metallicexpectations, were following a bit of advice Sandford had gotten beforehand.

The goal was to “just get to the eye of the cow and ride in there like I’m picking a diamond out of Tiffany’s,” she said in a reference to the famous jeweler Tiffany & Co.

It worked. She and Metallicexpectations, nicknamed “Spec” – short for “Spectacular” – won with a 216. The Reserve Championship went to Kaden Rutherford and Fantastic One.

The win came as somewhat of a surprise to Sandford, of Orange, California, because she’d thought she was riding in a go-round, not the final. In her defense, it was listed as a go-round on the show schedule.

“I was thrilled and I thought, ‘Oh boy, oh boy, I’m going to make it to the finals!'” Sandford said. “And, then when [the scores] never changed, I was like, ‘This is wonderful.'”

The win added $3,000 to the lifetime Equi-Stat record of Spec (Metallic Cat x Starlights CD x Grays Starlight). The Scott Gaddy-bred gelding now has more than $35,000 in lifetime earnings. Sandford’s lifetime earnings are nearing the $100,000 mark.

Sandford thanked all her help — her trainer, Monty Buntin, as well as Tim Smith, Gavin Jordan and Mike Wood. She also was grateful to the support and encouragement of her mother and family.

Cutting is a team sport, Sandford said, and wouldn’t be possible without support.

“I have so much family support, it’s a team effort there, too,” she said.

Rutherford and Fantastic One (Fantastic Cat x Star G Peptonita x Peptotime) marked a 214. They earned $2,429.

Derby Unlimited Amateur

The final day of the PCCHA Futurity show featured mostly youth and amateur riders going to the herd, and the cattle didn’t do the riders any favors.