Elizabeth Queen knew Nighttiming was special as soon as she laid eyes on him.
“I remember the first time I ever saw him, when he was still on his mama,” Queen said of the 2013 gelding. “I just thought he was so cool looking. I told [my husband] Skip, ‘I love that horse!’”
Her instincts were on point. The handsome bay started his career with promise in the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Non-Pro. Although he scratched out of the big event’s semifinals due to injury, the horse has come back strong in his Derby and Classic years.
On Wednesday, the son of Equi-Stat Elite $14 Million Sire One Time Pepto and Queen won their second aged-event title with the Bonanza Cutting 5/6-Year-Old Non-Pro Championship. The 221.5 they marked in the last draw in the finals broke the three-way tie at 216 for the lead at the event in Weatherford, Texas.
Because she drew last, Queen said she knew there wasn’t going to be a wide selection of cattle available for her run. The first cow was good, but Queen ended up working it a long time because it didn’t want to look away. The second cow was a challenge, but Nighttiming stood his ground.
“I knew she was going to be kind of testy, but I decided I might as well go for it, and I did,” she said. “She was pretty much trying to run over us the whole time and he was spot on.”
Queen said her arena helpers – her husband, Skip, as well as Casey Green, Lloyd Cox and Paul Hansma – helped her get through the run.
“My help handled everything so well,” she said. “It’s just so nice to have good help down there.”
The three horse-and-rider pairs who shared the Bonanza Cutting 5/6-Year-Old Co-Reserve Championship were: Alexa Stent and Bowmerang (by High Brow Cat), Blakely Colgrove and Sparklin Dual Shorty (by Dual R Smokin), and Ty Moore and Smooth XTC (by Smooth As A Cat).
Queen said she’s excited for Nighttiming’s future. She believes the gelding, who she rode to the 2017 Cotton Stakes Derby Non-Pro Championship, is probably the best aged-event horse she’s had since Lil Sting Rey, a 2007 son of Dual Rey out of Sanjo Lisa (by San Jo Lena) she rode to $101,439 in winnings. Skip also rode that horse, who compiled a lifetime Equi-Stat record of $171,186.
“You just appreciate the good ones when you have them, because they’re hard to come by and [you have to] just enjoy it while you have them,” Queen said. “I guess everybody has that dream of having a really nice horse and when they come around, it’s so special.”
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