Freezing, wet weather in Ardmore, Oklahoma, did nothing to ice the hot performance of Miss Stylish Katz (High Brow Cat x Miss Stylish Pepto x Peptoboonsmal) in her first major career win, where she scored a 223 to take the 5/6-Year-Old Open Championship at the Arbuckle Futurity on Feb. 21.
With Adan Banuelos in the stirrups, “Nikki” was the last horse to work in the first set of the 17-horse finals. Her only serious challenge came from James Vangilder’s Mr Luckys and Matt Gaines, who marked a 221 as the first horse-and-rider duo to go in the second set.
A 2013 sorrel mare, Miss Stylish Katz earned $8,000 for her efforts for owner Lone Oak Performance Horses, of Santa Maria, California. Gaines and Mr Luckys (High Brow Cat X Reys Desire x Dual Rey) actually had the biggest payday after pocketing $7,000 for the Open Reserve title, as well as $4,076 for topping the Novice and Gelding classes for the Jackson, Missouri, owner.
Seemingly the bridesmaid but never the bride, Miss Stylish Katz split fifth in the 2017 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Super Stakes Open, winning the largest check of her career, worth $43,852. She went on to secure other finalist positions in 2017 at the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association Derby, the Idaho Cutting Horse Association Futurity and the Brazos Bash.
2018 got off to a similar start when she tied for sixth in January’s Abilene Spectacular Classic Open.
“She’s finally come to the party,” owner Rick Taggard said. “It seems like since the first of the year, she’s really been coming on and we’re really excited because this is our first real win. It’s a big deal to me, because we’re fairly new at this.”
Taggard, a four-generation cattle rancher, did have a contingency plan had the mare not been a great performer. That strategy will now add icing to the cake.
“We decided early on to pull an egg out of her, and we’ll have a Dual Rey baby out of her shortly, so we’re in it pretty deep now,” he said with a laugh.
Bred by Glenn and Debbie Drake, of Napa, California, Miss Stylish Katz brought $152,000 at the 2016 NCHA Futurity Western Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale. She now has lifetime earnings of more than $73,000, according to Equi-Stat.