The horses in the Derby Open at the Breeder’s Invitational (BI) are setting records. The minimum composite to advance to the finals this year was an all-time high at an impressive 438.5 – exceeding the previous record by 1.5 points.
Bob O’ Bannon, executive director of the BI, said he believes the show attracts the best cutting horses and riders in the world, so he expects the scores to be high.
“The quality of horses have been improving. [The] trainers are better. In every sport, things get better and better,” said O’ Bannon, who predicted five years from now the composite score needed to make the finals will be even higher. “Just like any other athletes in sports, each year the horses get better and better.”
Austin Shepard and Dual Reyish led the go-rounds with a 445.5 after scoring a 220.5 in the first go and 225 in the second. Dual Reyish is no stranger to the winner’s circle; he claimed the 2017 National Cutting Horse Association Futurity Open win with Shepard last December.
It seems chart-busting bubbles are the theme at the BI. In 2017, it took a then-record 437 to make the Derby Open finals, which was won by Rocking P Ranch’s Cinca Im Hot ($151,055, by Spots Hot) and Jesse Lennox. Other notable horses in the finals last year included Hashtags ($306,176, by Metallic Cat); Cattys Hope ($235,017, by Catty Hawk); HR Cats Starlight ($174,173, by High Brow Cat); and Mistresssis ($167,079, by Metallic Cat).
Sixteen horse-and-rider teams received a ticket into today’s Wild Card round by earning a composite score between 436.5 and 438. Bordeauxx (Bet Hesa Cat x Uno Tassa Mia x Smart Little Uno), ridden by Kenny Platt for Jose Sigala, marked a 223 to advance to tomorrow’s finals. A 220 earned Dontt Happen Twice (Woody Be Tuff x Dont Look Twice x High Brow Cat), owned by breeder Waco Bend Ranch, and Phil Rapp the same honor.
The horses and riders whose first and second go-round scores qualified them for the Derby Open finals include (in order of composite placing):
- Dual Reyish ($260,401) & Austin Shepard
- Carolena Reyn ($96,340) & Matt Miller
- Cool N Hot ($183,941) & Sean Flynn
- Desires Mamie ($8,503) & Lee Francois
- Desiresomemettalic ($64,608) & Beau Galyean
- CR Smart Boots ($157,469) & Boyd Rice
- Judgement Day ($85,270) & Michael Cooper
- Justa Scootin Pepto ($656) & Zeb Corvin
- Smooth Lil Cowtown ($90,260) & Tarin Rice
- Duramax Dually ($93,510) & Wesley Galyean
- Hott Nu Cowboy ($21,240) & Sean Flynn
- Nikes Lil Sue ($9,692) & R.L. Chartier
- Summer Shandy ($10,896) & Jesse Lennox
- Taliate ($88,454) & Casey Green
- Candi Cat ($32,806) & Spud Sheehan
- Blackish ($65,714) & Lloyd Cox
- CR Tuff Mudder ($32,499) & Russ Westfall
- Mamas Stylish Sophie ($33,586) & Chris Hanson
- Metallize ($22,260) & Adan Banuelos
- Reyhannon ($731) & Tatum Rice
The BI, which is held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was originally held in Reno, Nevada, when it first began in 2003. It then moved to Las Vegas for three years before it was decided to move the show to Oklahoma. It is ranked as one of the highest-paying limited-age cuttings in the industry, according to Equi-Stat.