It would’ve been difficult to be a betting man during the 5/6-Year-Old Open finals at The Ike Derby and Classic. With the 14-horse set loaded with some of the industry’s toughest athletes, it was anyone’s game. But Reyzurbetsonthiscat and Craig Thompson were all in as the first draw and were rewarded with a royal 223 for the Championship.
Thompson, an Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Rider, and the gelding picked up the 4-Year-Old Open Championship at The Ike last year, so he was hopeful he could continue that success in 2018. Thompson said “Rey” had been on his game the entire show, thanks in part to his wife, Sasha, doing a great job preparing the gelding for each run.
“I just want to thank God first and foremost,” Thompson said. “My wife had Rey really prepared and got the horse ready really well for me. He has been good for me this whole show. Rey is a special horse. There is no doubt about it. He just has so much integrity and so much desire to work a cow. He just gave it everything he had today.
“It is just a blessing and honor to show a horse like that, because they don’t come around often. After we got them settled, we had some cows that we really liked. We went in there and cut them, and it just worked out.”
With $21,664 collected for the 5/6-Year-Old Open and Gelding championships, Reyzurbetsonthiscat, owned by Barnwell Ramsey and bred by Linda Holsey, now boasts $124,329 in lifetime earnings. The gelding, who is by Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Sire Bet Hesa Cat, is the third-highest money-earner out of Ariel Rey (by Dual Rey), a producer of four offspring with records of more than $400,000.
Thompson said going early in the herd helped him execute a clean run, since the cattle became increasingly difficult with time.
“Any draw in the finals is a good one,” Thompson said. “But I felt like it was to our advantage today [to have an early draw]. Those cattle got a little bit tougher. I had another horse deeper in the herd, and they were a little bit tougher then. That goes both ways some times. The cattle that we cut today were true to us. They didn’t lie to us, and I am just blessed and fortunate to go get showed.”
Thompson knew there was little room for mistakes during the finals given the stacked field, so he felt lucky he had a great support system. In addition to his wife, Thompson thanked his help, Steve Oehlhof, Gaylon Wells, Lloyd Cox and RL Chartier, for their parts in his win. He felt confident walking to the herd knowing his horse was ready to step up to the challenge, and he had a good help team to back him up. Thompson is thrilled about the clinching the Championship, but he knows he can’t relax if he wants to stay on top.
“Any time you compete against these guys and make the finals and happen to get a win or top 5 or 10 finish, it gives you a lot of confidence and you are really proud,” Thompson said. “You are thankful for it, because they don’t come around often. As tough as it is right now, it is always wide open. It is never just one guy who dominates every show anymore. It gives you something to build on. You can’t rest on it. You have to work harder to maintain it and try to stay constant and keep improving.”
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