Prior to the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association (PCCHA) Core Balance Derby, June Bug Jam had not garnered any checks in the show pen. It wasn’t for a lack of trying; the mare, who trainer Darren Simpkins described as “wild,” simply lacked confidence.
That all changed on June 15 at the Las Vegas-based show, though, as Simpkins and “June Bug” topped both the first and second gos before winning the Derby Open finals with a 224. Simpkins was thrilled, and a little shocked, to have topped every round.
“It’s hard to believe!” he said. “She was outstanding. Everything finally came together. We knew there was so much talent there, she’s just so cowy, but she was really wild. The last month her maturity has changed so much. Each round here was like, I can’t believe this, it’s all happening.”
By Kit Kat Sugar and out of the Dual Pep mare June Bug Dually, June Bug was bred to be a champion. Her dam, who tied for third place in the Open at the 2007 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity, is an earner of more than $225,000, and Kat Kat Sugar, the 2012 NCHA Super Stakes Open Reserve Champion, banked more than $240,000 before he retired to the breeding shed. June Bug’s half-sister, One Time In June (by One Time Pepto), has won nearly $70,000 as a cutter.
June Bug belongs to Carol Ward, of Rancho Murieta, California, who saw additional success at the PCCHA Core Balance Derby when her gelding, Crafty With Cows, took Reserve in the Classic/Challenge Open. Ward collected $28,500 from the two Open finals, including June Bug’s winning check of $18,000.
“She’s the sweetest mare!” Simpkins continued of June Bug. “She loves human attention, she loves affection, but when you get cows around her, it’s just a whole different deal.
“It’s kind of funny, the understanding that sometimes there’s a test before there’s a blessing. This mare has definitely been a test, but I thank God for this blessing of how this has all happened and unfolded. We all knew there was a good mare there but just had to be patient enough for her to mature and come into herself.”
Missing the Championship by a half-point were Carolena Reyn and Matt Miller, who went home with the Reserve Championship and a $15,000 check after marking a 223.5. Miller owns the homebred mare (Dual Smart Rey x Carolena Moon x Peptoboonsmal) with his wife, Megan. This check sent Carolena Reyn over the $140,000 earnings mark. She has three half-siblings that have each won more than $100,000: A Smooth Criminal ($136,479, by Smooth As A Cat), Reylena Moon ($118,427, by Dual Rey) and Stylish Swagger ($118,031, by Stylish Rey).
Miller’s success didn’t end with the Derby Open Reserve Championship. In the Classic/Challenge Open, a half-point again separated first and second place, but this time, it was in his favor when he and Mistresssis, a mare owned by Holy Cow Performance Horses, took the win with a 226.
Mistresssis, who was bred by Singleton Ranches, is by Metallic Cat. She is the No. 1 money-earner out of Smart Crackin Chic (by Smart Chic Olena), a producer of more than $478,000 including Mistresssis’ full sister, Metallic Mistress ($166,659).
Mistresssis tied for fourth place at the 2016 NCHA Futurity. The Classic/Challenge Open Championship was the 5-year-old mare’s first, and the $12,500 check she received put her lifetime earnings at almost $180,000.
Carol Ward’s homebred gelding Crafty With Cows and R.L. Chartier received a check for $10,500 for the Reserve Championship after marking a 225.5. Crafty With Cows’ (High Brow CD x Miss Haulin Hickory x SR Instant Choice) lifetime earnings stand at $263,546.
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