Trainer Clayton Edsall knew Bet He Sparks had to throw down a monster fence run to get a piece of the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Derby.
He felt the horse had it in him. “Sparky” didn’t let him down.
The red roan son of Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Sire Bet Hesa Cat got the crowd screaming and cheering with a 228. It was the co-highest score of the round, matched only by Edsall’s run earlier in the round on Sparky’s maternal half-sister, Metallic Train (by Metallic Cat).
Although it wasn’t quite enough to catch Open Champions Shiners Diamond Cat and Justin Wright, the run gave the red roan stallion a composite of 670 (219 herd/223 rein/228 cow), landing him and Edsall the Open Intermediate Championship and the Open Reserve Championship.
“I felt like I was dang sure close, if I hadn’t done it,” Edsall said, of the anticipation of waiting for his score. “Yeah, he was outstanding. He was outstanding.”
The two titles earned $32,303 for the 2014 son of Sparking Train (by Shining Spark), pushing his Equi-Stat record past $109,000. Bred by Gardiner Quarter Horses, Bet He Sparks is owned by Edsall’s long-time customers, Kathryn and Layn Phillips, of Corona Del Mar, California. It meant a lot to win a premier event for the couple, Edsall said.
“[Kathryn is] actually the godmother to our daughter,” he said. “She’s great friend and a great customer.”
Edsall, who is having a banner year, has an Equi-Stat record of more than $500,000.
In addition to the NRCHA Derby Intermediate Open Championship, he also earned another $25,734 at the show riding Metallic Train (also out of Sparking Train, by Shining Spark) to the Derby Intermediate Open Reserve Championship and a third place in the Open.
They were among the five finalists Edsall rode in the Derby Open and six in the Derby Intermediate Open at the show in Paso Robles, California. In March, he won rode Metallic Train to the NRCHA Stakes Open and Intermediate Open championships.
“It’s been outstanding, and, I mean, it’s just incredible the group of horses I have,” Edsall said. “You know? There’s just so many good horses and good customers and it’s just a lot of fun right now.”
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