Scooter Kat was firing on all cylinders in the 2020 NRCHA Derby finals, winning all three events to take the Open Championship with Justin Wright. • Photo by Primo Morales.

“Once-in-a-Lifetime” Horse Scooter Kat Cruises to NRCHA Derby Win

Scooter Kat won the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Derby with a powerful performance, leading all three works in the finals to take the Open title in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The stallion and trainer Justin Wright rolled to the Derby Open Championship on Saturday, June 13, with a big composite of 673.5 (224 herd/224.5 rein/225 cow). The 5-year-old by Kit Kat Sugar led from start to finish, marking the top score in the herd, rein and cow work to outpace Reserve Champions Hott Rod and Corey Cushing by five points.

Wright was excited to add the NRCHA Derby to Scooter Kat’s resume.

“It means everything to me, and not because of me at all. It was all about him,” he said. “He deserves it and I just feel good that I didn’t screw it up for him.”

He praised the stallion’s work ethic and demeanor, calling the stallion a “once-in-a-lifetime” horse.

“It’s incredible how neat of a horse he is and I want him to do the best just so people know how neat of a horse he really is,” he said.

Scooter Kat’s Career

Wright has ridden the horse owned by Eric Freitas his entire show career.

The sorrel stallion bred by Taylor Carbo, of Stephenville, Texas, kicked things off with a bang by winning the 2018 National Stock Horse Association (NSHA) Futurity Open Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada. He followed that up with the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Reserve Championship.

Last year, Scooter Kat won the NRCHA Stallion Stakes Open and was fourth in the NRCHA Derby. Earlier this year, he and Wright finished third in the Tres Osos Derby at the NRCHA Celebration of Champions in Fort Worth.

Like many horses in Scottsdale, Scooter Kat entered the Derby off a four-month layoff due to the impact of the coronavirus on the show season. He and Wright did manage to go to the Celebration of Champions show in February, before the show season shut down.

During the downtime, Scooter Kat was busy with a new side job — he stood his first season at stud at Santa Lucia Farm. About 45 days before the show he moved back to Wright’s barn in Santa Maria, California, and the trainer said he seemed unfazed his stallion duties.

“He’s the gentlest sweetest horse to be around,” he said.


In Scottsdale, Scooter Kat was solid in the preliminary round with scores of 221.5 in the herd and 220 in both the reining and cow work for a composite of 661.5 to come out of that early round in third.

“Through the whole show he was good,” said Wright, an earner of more than $1.3 million. “I had a few spots in the prelims that maybe I didn’t get him shown just perfectly, but he was very very good.”

Once Wright began preparing the stallion for the finals, the horse seemed to reach another level.

“He felt like he was in a spot that I don’t even know how to describe it,” Wright said, searching for words. “He felt outstanding and just was thriving on getting worked and switching from event to event was super easy for him this time.”

Added to those his previous finishes, the $33,550 first-place check in Scottsdale pushed the stallion’s lifetime earnings to $229,247. He’s the leading earner for his dam, Scooters Daisy Dukes. The daughter of Dual Smart Rey and out of Scooters Playmate (by Freckles Playboy) has foaled five money-earning performers with a combined Equi-Stat record of nearly $260,000.

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