Going into the Southern Cutting Futurity Non-Pro, Nadine Payne and Desires A Gun had won two non-pro futurities, placed second in a third and her husband, trainer James Payne, had ridden the mare to the Southern Cutting Futurity Open Reserve Championship a few days before.
“After he ended up second on her I figured the entry fee is paid for, so it doesn’t matter what I do,” Nadine Payne said, laughing. “I figured there’s enough pressure in this sport, you don’t need to add more.”
In the end, there was no need for nerves. The Overbrook, Oklahoma, rider and the mare by Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Sire Boon Too Suen won their third non-pro futurity of the year on Saturday morning in the Southern Cutting Futurity. They marked a composite of 429 (212/217) to win the championship in the pencil finals format.
Nadine was thrilled for the success on the mare nicknamed “Toad.” The moniker came from the crew at Robbie Boyce’s barn, who had the daughter of Desires To Play (by Playgun) when she was bought by James. She got the name not because of her personality, which Nadine said is very sweet, but because she was short and, well, a bit portly.
“She is very short and, she’s lost some weight since last year, but she was very short and very fat. She really looked like a toad,” Nadine recalled. “But, now she’s matured. She’s still very short and very little, but she’s not fat anymore.”
She was certainly in fighting form at the Southern. With James in the Open, she marked a 216 to be Reserve Champion to James’ other mount, Stylish Hailee, who marked the winning 220.
Earlier this year, Desires A Gun and Nadine won the Non-Pro championships at the West Texas Futurity and the Cotton Stakes. They were Non-Pro Reserve Champions at the Brazos Bash. In all, she’s banked more than $34,000 for the Paynes, who own the mare bred by Cowan Select Horses, of Havre, Montana.
“I can’t praise her any more than I already have, I don’t think. She’s just…I don’t know, she’s pretty precious,” Nadine said with affection for the sorrel mare. “She’s really sweet and has done beyond what we’d hoped for her to do.”
The plan is to give Desires A Gun a break for the next few months. Then, it’s on to next year’s shows.
The question is, who will ride the mare? Will Nadine ride Desires A Gun in the non-pro events or, after his success at the Southern, will her husband try to steal the ride for the Open?
“He better not,” Nadine said with a laugh. “We might share her at a couple key events, but for the most part, she’ll be mine.”
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