Stylish Hailee & James Payne • Photo by Hart Photos

Stylish Hailee Claims the Cotton Stakes Futurity Open

Stylish Hailee and James Payne rolled into West Monroe, Louisiana, for the Cotton Stakes fresh off their win at the West Texas Futurity, where they were named the Futurity Open Champions. When they head home from the Ike Hamilton Expo Center, they’ll be carrying their second Futurity Open title.

Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Rider James Payne piloted “Hailee” to a 222.5 from the second to last draw in the finals.

“The draw really bothered me, ’cause those cows were tough, and being second to last there really wasn’t a whole lot of a selection left, so I was a little worried about it,” Payne said. “But it worked out.”

The Halreycious mare, who is out of Keep Me In Style (by Docs Stylish Oak), lead in the first go-round of the Futurity with a 221. Their momentum carried them right on through to the second go-round, where they dominated the competition with a 219. While Payne was less than thrilled about his draw in the finals, Hailee, who was bred by Kathy Knost, seemed to be experiencing some growing pains as well.

“She was a little edgier getting her ready for this show. I don’t know why, but she’s a 3-year-old, so that happens,” he said.

The duo will bring home a check of $10,000 for their efforts, which they’ll add to the $13,500 they earned in Amarillo, Texas, for a whopping $23,500 in lifetime earnings right out of the gate.

“She’s just so cowy, smart and fun to ride,” Payne said of the mare, who is owned by Kathleen Moore, of Madill, Oklahoma, and was purchased from Todd Nelson at the 2017 NCHA Futurity 2-Year-Old Sale Session I for $35,000.

Hailee will head home after the Cotton Stakes, where Payne will take time to school her in preparation for the Brazos Bash, in Weatherford, Texas, at the end of the month.

The Reserve title went to 2015 stallion Bama Timme (Bamacat x Divas On Time x One Time Pepto), who was ridden by Austin Shephard to a score of 220, earning a check of $8,800 for breeder and owner Amanda Standish, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.