The Derby Amateur finals kicked off the day on July 26 at the Metallic Cat National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Summer Spectacular, with 31 horses and riders vying for the title. When it was all said and done, Cash Carpenter and Iggy Katzalea’s 218, marked from the sixth hole, held for the Championship. It was Carpenter’s first No. 1 title in the Will Rogers Coliseum.
“My family’s definitely had some success in this building, and so it’s just kind of cool to carry on and get my first win, and just a cool place to do it,” Carpenter said.
He added his run was pretty tough, but his mare handled it well. Since he was early in the draw, he had the option of cutting cows he wanted, but his plan was to just drive up whatever came to the top of the herd. His first cow gave him a good start to his run, but the second was tricky.
“I turned around, and there was a grey cow underneath me with a fuzzy back,” he said. “I was going to go deeper, but they just said here she is, and she kind of rolled up to the top. I stepped up there behind her, and I kind of had a chance to cut her a little cleaner than it was, and kind of missed my chance – she tangled up just a little bit – but it was a good cow to finish up on. It was a pretty tough cow; it got real close at the end, real tight, and it was kind of scary.”
He and Iggy Katzalea banked a $5,298 paycheck for the win, pushing Carpenter’s lifetime earnings to $45,390, according to Equi-Stat, while the mare’s stand at more than $8,100.
Iggy Katzalea, a 2014 Carpenter homebred mare, is a daughter of Kit Kat Sugar, the 2012 Open Horse of the Year. She is out of Smart Sandhill Kay (by Smart Mate), a mare who has produced five money-earners including Smart Stingrey ($263,486, by Dual Rey). That gelding challenged Special Nu Baby for the 2015 NCHA World Finals Open title, ultimately coming in Reserve.
In addition to her skills as a cutting horse, Iggy Katzalea has an interesting feature that distinguishes her from the rest of the herd. Temperatures dropped the night she was born, causing a freeze, and her ears were frostbitten. The result is ears that aren’t quite the normal size for a horse, but that doesn’t stop her.
“I think it gives her character,” Carpenter said. “I like ‘em.”
Michael Baker has trained the mare since the middle of her 2-year-old year. Carpenter said she fits Baker’s style of training, and he’s enjoyed watching her progress over the years. She may be small, he said, but she always tries hard and helps out her rider.
Carpenter, 17, is already thinking about his future. The incoming high school junior is interested in architecture, and might go to school to study it in the future. In the meantime, he’s enjoying showing with his family, including brother Ryder, who he described as the most influential cutter in his life.
“He’s always been strict and pushes me, always wants to make me better,” Carpenter said. “I’d also like to thank my help, God and my mom [for] always driving me or helping me out in some way.”
Kristin Spencer Morais and Wherever I May Roan took the Reserve title after scoring a 217.5. The mare, who was bred by Morais’ parents Brett and Tara Spencer, is by Metallic Cat and out of the Im Countin Checks mare Shesa Funky Monkey. Morais banked $5,088.
Derby Unlimited Amateur
Finishing off the night on July 26 were the Derby Unlimited Amateur finals. Thirty-six horses rode to the herd, and at the end of the night, Isidro Sigala and Safari Smooth Cat took the Championship with their 216.5.
Bedecked with the Venezuelan flag during his champion’s interview after the finals, Sigala was proud to represent his native country.
“It feels really good,” Sigala said. “A long time ago I had Sofie Rey, and I was Reserve Champion a couple of times here in the Will Rogers. I had a really high score a few times. Ryder Carpenter beat me both times, so since that point I had the feeling of how it is being close to the win. And I won other shows, but I was trying to win one here for a long time. I guess tonight was the night!”
Sigala started off the finals with a second horse, See Ya At Cadillacs. That mare is by his family’s stallion, Sigala Rey, and out of the Cat Ichi mare I C Hi Stars. He and See Ya At Cadillacs marked a 215.5 and ended up third.
“After the first set I was still winning on the other mare and I wanted it to be done!” he said with a laugh. “But there was one more set and I couldn’t go away. I wished I could, just way over there. But it worked out really good on the second horse.”
Sigala trained Safari Smooth Cat, saying he’s trying to learn as much as he can about the process.
“It’s been a lot of learning back and forth,” he explained. “At some points I feel like I have everything figured out. The next day, I feel like I know nothing.”
That learning curve has helped him adapt to riding different horses, particularly when he has two to show in the same finals. He said both mares are totally different, so he just has to focus on one at a time.
Safari Smooth Cat (Smooth As A Cat x Safari Fever x Playin Safari), who was bred by Sigala’s father, Jose Ignacio, is a half-sister to Sophie Rey, Sigala’s former great mare who is an earner of $148,767.
“She is really nice,” Sigala said of Safari Smooth Cat. “I think she’s a pretty sweet horse, really smart. I think all the Smooth As A Cats are really smart, easy to show. She’s that way. I’ve been pretty happy showing that mare all the time.”
Safari Smooth Cat has been bred to Sigala Rey for a 2019 baby, and Sigala can’t wait to see it hit the ground. The Sigalas have not been standing Sigala Rey to the public, only breeding him to produce horses for themselves, but that will all change soon.
“All the Sigala babies are being really exciting,” he said. “This year finally we’ll start promoting him and people outside breeding to him. It’s been really exciting. The babies are being really nice in the show pens, so I am pretty happy about that.”
In the middle of Sigala’s two scores was a 216, marked by John Rockey and Dureyngo Kid. That duo took the Reserve Championship and $8,113 home to Palmdale, California. Dureyngo Kid (Reys Dual Badger x Hissy Cat x High Brow Cat) was bred by Jennifer and Jeffrey Foland.
Classic/Challenge Unlimited Amateur
Langston Pattillo won his first paycheck in 2014, and since then, he’s only continued to climb through the ranks. This year he’s made a name for himself in the Amateur circles, including riding Dualin Smooth Legacy to the NCHA Super Stakes Amateur Co-Championship in the spring. The NCHA Summer Spectacular, however, has been even bigger for Pattillo.
One July 26, he rode Sunrise Ranch LLC-bred High Stylin CD to the Classic/Challenge Amateur Championship after marking a 223. The very next day, he and the horse scored a 222.5 in the Classic/Challenge Unlimited Amateur, winning that title, and $8,857, as well.
“It’s pretty great. I’m so thankful to have a good horse and just be able to get it done,” Pattillo said. “He’s by far the best horse I’ve ever ridden. He has so much heart and try, it’s hard not to do good. If you have the right team and the people that want you to do good, and you have a good horse like that and you do your job, it’s easy to do it.”
Pattillo and “Jones” (High Brow CD x Stylin Playgirl x Docs Stylish Oak) made the Summer Spectacular quite a marathon, as in addition to the Unlimited Amateur and Amateur finals, they also made the finals in the Classic/Challenge Limited Non-Pro. Pattillo said he could tell the gelding was getting tired at the end, and he would like to give him a long break after this show.
“Considering that he had like no energy left to hold all those fast cows that he held, I was extremely proud of him,” Pattillo said. “I just wanted to show him with what I had. If he didn’t have all the energy in the world, I had to do what he could only do. It ended up with him doing it, so I just had to go with it. He felt extremely tired, but I can understand why he is because he’s had like eight runs on him this show. I was proud of him for what he had.”
He hopes to continue competing with Jones throughout the rest of this year and next year, as well. His other horse, Dualin Smooth Legacy (Smooth As A Cat x Dual Legacy x Dual Pep), who he took 12th place with in the Classic/Challenge Unlimited Amateur finals, is also 5 years old.
“I’d like to thank Macall Banner and Allison Welling for getting the horse ready, and Randy Chartier, Tommy Dvorak, Cullen Chartier and R.L. Chartier,” Pattillo said.
“He’s been a great kid to raise his entire life and works hard and always makes his parents proud with the decisions that he makes,” Pattillo’s dad, Blake, added. “He’s always been there to help us 100 percent, so it makes us want to do more to help him.
“I was always in athletics growing up, and I think it develops your child in order to learn how to win and learn how to be a gracious loser, as well,” Blake continued. “When you lose, it makes you want to try harder to win, and I think that being in some kind of a sport, whether it’s cutting or basketball, you will be a winner later on in life as a parent or as a business owner. I just think it molds them for later on in life, and so that’s why we do it.”
Three riders marked a 218, making a three-way tie for the Reserve Championship. The first was Carol Ward on homebred gelding Lil Lou Rey (Dual Rey x Lil Dulce Lu x Dulces Smart Lena), who marked the score from draw No. 1.
In the second bunch, Danny Jones rode Slate River Ranch-bred Play Miss Boonsmal (Peptoboonsmal x Play Miss x Playgun) to the score. He was immediately followed by Janet Trefethen and Hissylicious (Halreycious x Hissy Cat x High Brow Cat), a mare bred by Jennifer and Jeffrey Foland.
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