With three horses qualified for the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Super Stakes Classic Limited Open finals, the odds-on favorite going into the 11-head class had to be Brent Erickson. It didn’t take Erickson long to set the bar — as draw No. 1, he scored a 220 on Dacole Investment Company’s This Bentleys Hot (Hottish x Spookys Nine Eleven x High Brow Cat), a 5-year-old gelding bred by Jeff Barnes, of Wilton, California. Their run held the lead throughout the rest of the class.
Erickson also placed seventh with a 214 score on 6-year-old Princess Pandora Cat (Metallic Cat x Spookys Got Cash x Miss N Cash), also bred by Jeff Barnes, and eighth after riding 6-year-old Reyefied (Dual Rey x Shes A Smooth Cat x Smooth As A Cat) to a score of 213.5.
Between his three finalists, Erickson claimed $16,681 of the purse money, which elevated his Equi-Stat earnings record to more than $748,700. This Bentleys Hot added $9,287 to his lifetime earnings, which now total nearly $30,000.
Erickson also won the 2018 NCHA Super Stakes Classic Limited Open Championship riding Reyefied, another Dacole Investment Company-owned horse. The investment firm is based out of Reno, Nevada.
Erickson said he felt fortunate to have all three of his Limited Open horses advance to the finals, but after drawing up first in the finals and scoring well, he had to survive “the wait” to see if his score would hold.
“I knew my last cow was not great; I mean, it was dang sure a beatable run, and there are some guys in here that almost did it,” Erickson said. “I’m just glad it held up.
“We had some cows in there that we wanted to cut and that we thought would just be great to start on. The first cow was my first pick, and my second cow was one that we really liked — and it was in the right spot,” he added. “Then my third cow, which I didn’t really want to cut, I felt like that was the safe thing to do and it was in right spot, and so it just kind of worked out.”
Erickson said Jeff Barnes raised This Bentleys Hot, and they’d had the horse since he was a yearling.
“Debbie [Day] bought him as a 3-year-old, and he’s been with us the whole time,” he said. “He’s just been outstanding, and I love him!”
The gelding has a lot of ability, but what Erickson said he likes best about the horse is how cowy and physically talented he is.
“He’s one of the most physically talented horses I’ve ever been on — he’s just an absolute athlete.”
Making this year’s win in Fort Worth special for Erickson was the fact that he and the gelding got to redeem their 2017 NCHA Futurity run, where things didn’t work out the way he’d hoped they would.
“We made the semis but then missed the big finals by a half a point,” Erickson said. “So to be able to win this on him is good!”
The current plan for showing This Bentleys Hot for the rest of the year, Erickson said, is to show the horse back home in California and at the big Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association shows coming up.
“Then, we’ll just do the whole fall run on him and just kind of go where we can and where they put the money up,” he said of the horse, who was gelded as a 2-year-old for being “not a very good stud.”
Regardless of where Erickson, who has been training cutting horses since working for a trainer in Texas in 1997 before returning to the West Coast, hauls the gelding to show, the horse will undoubtedly be returning home.
“He’s a ‘lifer’ — he’ll be with us for life,” Erickson said.