The Abilene Spectacular 5/6-Year-Old Open finals were packed with big names and even bigger talent the morning of Saturday, Jan. 6. Horses like 2016 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open Champion Second Spot, 2017 NCHA Super Stakes Open Champion Hashtags, 2017 Amateur Horse of the Year Two Time Dual and 2016 NCHA Super Stakes John Deere Open Champion Littlemak each vied for a share of the pie. At the end of the day, two horse-and-rider teams shared the Co-Championship after marking matching scores.
Copperish, a daughter of Metallic Cat, carried Equi-Stat Elite $8 Million Rider Lloyd Cox to a 221 from the third hole, a score that held for the rest of the first set. It was later matched by CR WRs Royal Tee and Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider Jesse Lennox, who rode from the first hole in the second set.
“You never know in the 5/6-year-old,” Cox said. “About any horse in there can mark a 20-whatever, so you never really know what’s going to happen. I think the cattle kept it from getting away over that mark probably. You always expect you could get beat with that score, absolutely.”
Cox said going early in the bunch helped a lot with the tough cattle, as did getting clean and smooth cuts every time. For the Co-Championship, he and Copperish banked $17,000, an amount that pushed the mare to lifetime earnings of $134,673. The Double Dove Ranch-bred mare is out of Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Dam Stylish Play Lena (by Docs Stylish Oak) and is a half-sister to Pepto Boom ($315,816, by Peptoboonsmal), Smooth Talkin Style ($305,284, by Smooth As A Cat), Hottish ($310,200, by Spots Hot) and Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Sire Halreycious ($227,459, by Dual Rey), among others.
Cox has had the mare in his program ever since owner Jimmie Miller Smith, of Geary, Oklahoma, purchased her for $210,000 at the 2014 Western Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale & Gala. The duo were the Open Co-Champions at the 2017 Bonanza Cutting and Open Champions at The Cattlemens Derby and Classic. Ever since then, the mare has only matured.
“She’s just bloomed physically and mentally, too,” Cox said. “She’s just gotten smarter. Horses develop, and I think I’ve seen a lot of difference, actually.
“It’s always good to win, and when people give you a horse from the start – it’s been really good to me, and I appreciate having them,” he said.
Along with the Open Co-Championship, CR WRs Royal Tee and Lennox additionally garnered a $2,387 check for winning the gelding class, elevating the horse’s earnings to $71,912. Bred by Center Ranch, CR WRs Royal Tee sold through the 2015 Center Ranch Production Sale to Bobby Patton’s Rocking P Ranch for $36,000.
“This sale [the Center Ranch Production Sale] was the first sale that Jesse was involved in, so I think I’m happy for Jesse as much or more than I am for myself because it kind of validates his decision to buy the horse,” Patton said. “It was kind of his first decision at his new job.”
“I just really want to thank Bobby Patton as the owner for allowing me to go and find a horse that I really liked and really believed in, and for being patient while we went through the training process,” Lennox said. “I always felt like this was a big time horse and had a win in him. I hadn’t pulled it off yet, but it has always felt like a very strong, very cowy, swoopy, pretty-moving horse.
“I’ve always believed in this horse, always had really high hopes for him,” he continued. “He’s just really gotten smart about a cow, and really started to fit the last three, four times I’ve showed him. Starting out the 5-year-old year like this is a real nice way.”
Lennox thanked his help – Wes Ashlock, John Sanislow, Michael Cooper and Chris Hanson – for their parts in his win, along with Erica Banuelos for getting the horse ready. He felt prepared to take risks and go head-to-head with more challenging cows to show off the horse’s moves, a strategy which paid off.
“The second cow was a lot of cow. It really came in and gave him a lot of contact and was sort of tricky,” Lennox said. “I feel like he’s gotten a lot stronger in how quick he is at pulling his inside hind leg out of his way to turn during the little moves. I think that’s why he can maintain that trap on that cow, and I’m really excited about feeling that in him. I think that’s helping him get to a whole new level.”
CR WRs Royal Tee is by WR This Cats Smart and is the only money-earner out of the CD Royal mare Cee Dee Royal Tee. Lennox was excited for Rocking P’s program, which recently added Equi-Stat Elite $17 Million Sire Metallic Cat to its lineup of horses.
“I’m so fortunate to have a partner in it like Bobby Patton that is making sure we have everything we need to be successful,” Lennox said.
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