Clayton Edsall earned his first NRCHA premier event title in the NRCHA Stallion Stakes, aboard Metallic Train. She was one of four horses he showed in the Open finals. • Photo by Primo Morales.

Edsall Hits $85,000 Jackpot In NRCHA Stakes Open Finals

What happens when you win $85,000 in Las Vegas?

Ask Clayton Edsall.

The Oakdale, California, trainer scored a massive haul with a memorable win Saturday night aboard Metallic Train in the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Stallion Stakes. He and the mare marked huge 227-point fence score to win the Open and Intermediate Open titles.

That wasn’t all. Edsall also won the Open Novice Horse and the Intermediate Open Reserve championships, riding four horses in the Open finals. Overall, his horses earned more than $85,000 in the NRCHA Stakes finals and preliminary rounds.

Even after accepting his awards, Edsall was still trying to process the night’s events.

“It means a lot. I just don’t think it’s sank in,” said the trainer, surrounded by family and friends in the main arena at the South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa. “I mean, all the horses were really great and so I think it’s going to take a little bit to just process.”

Edsall’s biggest wins of the show were on horses owned by Beverly Vaughn: Open Champion Metallic Train (Metallic Cat x Sparking Train x Shining Spark) and Novice Horse Open Champion Bet Hesa Boon (Bet Hesa Cat x Flo N Blu Boon x Pretty Boy Boon).

Bet Hesa Boon, the Intermediate Open Reserve Champion, also placed seventh in the Open. Metallic Train’s half brother, Bet He Sparks (by Bet Hesa Cat) carried Edsall to an eighth-place finish in the Open. His fourth Open final qualifier was Shining CD Light (by CD Lights), who scratched after the herd work.

Metallic Train won $46,309 in the finals. Bet Hesa Boon earned $17,321 in the finals and roughly $3,700 from the Open Novice Horse title in the preliminary rounds.

“You know, when we got four in the finals, I told [his fiancé] Chelsea, I said ‘You know, there’s a chance something like this could happen’, but you know…How do you know,” said Edsall, who has lifetime earnings of roughly $500,000. “So, it’s just all pretty special, for sure.”

Edsall’s big fence score in the NRCHA Stakes Open finals came just after Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Rider Corey Cushing set the crowd on fire with a sizzling 224.5 run on DMAC Reydar (by Dual Smart Rey). Cushing’s run was, up to that point, the high mark of the cow work, just eclipsing the 223 that Kelby Phillips marked in the first set with 2016 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion Duals Lucky Charm (by Dual Smart Rey)

Riding Metallic Train out of the arena after his run, Edsall knew his score had to be at least 227 to catch Phillips. Although Phillips and Sarah Dawson each had a 656.5 composite, Phillips had the higher cow work score, which is used to break ties, so the lead was his alone.

“Kelby was a [2]23, Corey was a [2]24.5 and then I felt like, [with] my two turns and…circles, I wonder what they’re gonna mark me,” he said. “And then as soon as I rode out the gate, and then they announced my score and I told the back gate guys — ‘Oh My God, I just won the Stakes, didn’t I?’ — and, they’re like, ‘Yep’.”

The run put him at a 656.6 composite (215 herd/214.5 cow/227 cow), but his high-scoring fence run broke the tie to give Edsall his first NRCHA premier event championship.

Up in the stands, Chelsea was crying and fielding congratulations. She and Edsall, who have two children – Weston, 2, and Rylee, 15 months – plan to wed in April.

“Just to see him finally get some recognition in an aged event on such a great horse, it means everything,” said Chelsea, who thanked the cow horse community for its support. “It’s so amazing, because he works so hard and he loves his horses and it’s just nice to see. I’m so proud of him.”

The Open Co-Reserve Championship went to Phillips and Duals Lucky Charm (out of TRR Ms Pepcid Olena, by Pepcid) and Dawson and Travelin Miss Jonez (by Travelin Jones x Playin With Rubies x Lectric Playboy). They each won $23,803.

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