Graceful Smart Cat and Justin Wright scored a victory in the Open Derby at the first-ever Paso Robles Spring Classic. • Photo by Deb Mann.

Graceful Smart Cat & Wright Dance Away with First Paso Robles Spring Classic

A lead built over the herd and rein work helped Graceful Smart Cat and Justin Wright take the $30,000 prize at the inaugural Paso Robles Spring Classic, presented by Borjon Auto Center.

Marking a 224 in the herd, 223 in the rein work and a 219.5 down the fence, the WR This Cats Smart stallion and Justin Wright finished with a composite of 666.5 on Friday, April 16 at the Paso Robles Events Center.

They finished two points in front of Wright and another of his horses, Reserve Champion Hustle And Flo (Metallic Cat x Abbey Roan x One Time Pepto), who marked a composite of 664.5 (219 herd/221.5 rein/224 cow) and earned $17,250.

“It has been a fortunate last couple of days,” Wright said. “It’s really exciting to see [Graceful Smart Cat] pull it off.”

The $70,000-added Paso Robles Spring Classic was created to bring a major reined cow horse event back to California. This was its first year.

Wright said the show’s first Open champion, Graceful Smart Cat, goes by “D2” in the barn and is “all business.”

“He’s a real easy horse, real laid back, fun to show and he’s always the same when you walk in to show him. I’ve gotten really lucky and have had some great WR [This Cats Smart]’s. I think they’re really neat horses. They have the stamina and capability to do all three events. I’m all on board on them,” Wright said. 

Owned and bred by Wagonhound Land & Livestock, D2 is out of Gracielights, a daughter of Equi-Stat Elite $5 Million Sire CD Lights.

“[WR This Cats Smart progeny] are really neat horses, and they are high-caliber horses. They have the stamina, mindset and the strength to be competitive at a high level. The Wagonhound has been really good to me and they have a really good set of horses at the ranch. They’re great people to do business with.”

Wright is leaving Paso Robles with more than $45,000 in earnings, bringing his lifetime total to $1,572,743 according to Equi-Stat.