Amanda Standish was out of the saddle for eight months surrounding the birth of her daughter, Eloise, but on Thursday showed her 7-month-old mom was back in top form by nabbing the Augusta Futurity 5/6-Year-old Unlimited Amateur Championship.
Standish, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and homebred Im Countin Starz took the title in Augusta, Georgia, with a 220. The 2012 gelding, nicknamed “Mr. Blue,” had been consistent all week leading up the Unlimited Amateur finals.
“He’s a perfect horse to start back with. He’s been such a confidence builder this week,” said Standish, sitting with Eloise in the stands after her run. “I showed him in the Non-Pro because I just wanted to kind of show and I got a (2)16.5 in the go-round and the same thing in the go-round here yesterday, so he pretty much makes me feel like I know what I’m doing, which I don’t think I still do because with (giving birth) I haven’t had very much time to practice.”
Their 220 was enough to edge Reserve Champions Barnwell Ramsey and Bet Sheza Marka. Standish earned $2,500 for the win, pushing her lifetime Equi-Stat record to more than $165,000.
Following her doctor’s advice, Standish quit riding last January. She gave birth to Eloise via C-section in June, and was back riding again in August. Cutting took a back burner when she did start her comeback, as Standish was more focused on preparing for the U.S. Arabian and Half Arabian National Championships in October.
She, her husband, Rhein, and family show Arabians through the family’s Boisvert Farms in Baton Rouge. Their focus is on country English pleasure and English pleasure events.
The Augusta Futurity was Standish’s first major cutting after the break. Although she was confident in Mr. Blue, she wasn’t sure what to expect given her late draw.
“I’ve drawn first the other two times I’ve showed (at the Augusta Futurity), so I was a little concerned being thirteenth there just wouldn’t be that much to pick from, but both my first two cows, I kind of had to go get them but they walked right up top pretty easily and kind of separated themselves, which made it awesome for me.”
The win also was special because of Mr. Blue’s connection to the Standish family. Out of Catrina Starlight (by High Brow Cat), he’s a full brother to 2017 NCHA Open World Champion Deluxe Checks. His full brother, Im Countin Cards, also made the 5/6-Year-Old Unlimited Amateur finals with owner Steve Marcello.
The Standishes sold both geldings as weanlings, but eventually repurchased Mr. Blue.
“It’s amazing,” Standish said. “Their mom is a really special mare to us, and I think the world of her, so I think it’s amazing that her babies are doing so well now.”
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