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.