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Bama Jelly and Austin Shepard scored a sharp win in the 2021 Breeder's Invitational Classic/Challenge. • Photo by S. Sylvester Photography.

Bama Jelly & Austin Shepard Strike at Breeder’s Invitational

A talented field of horses came to play in the Breeder’s Invitational Classic/Challenge Open, with 25 making it back to the finals.

Bama Jelly carried Austin Shepard from the 24th hole to a huge 227.5, winning the Championship and a check worth $20,234 for owner Madalyn Colgrove on Saturday, May 15 at the show in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The 6-year-old stallion has been in Shepard’s program from the beginning and has won nearly all of the $289,338 on his record with the trainer. The pair made the finals at the 2018 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity, and since then, they have collected titles from the 2019 Augusta Futurity; 2019 Arbuckle Mountain Futurity; 2020 NCHA Eastern National Championships; and 2020 Southern Cutting Futurity, among others.

Colgrove and the homebred stallion also picked up two checks together — $4,482 for placing third in the 2020 Ike Derby and Classic 5/6-Year-Old Non-Pro, and $9,544 for winning the 2020 Southern Cutting Futurity Classic Non-Pro. Sean Flynn also collected a check with Bama Jelly at the 2019 Bonanza Cutting.

Bama Jelly is by Bamacat and is by far the stallion’s highest-earning progeny. He is out of the Nitas Wood mare Wood She Be Neat, an earner of nearly $30,000 who has produced four other money-earners.

The Classic/Challenge Open Reserve Championship was split by two teams that each scored a 225. The first, riding from the ninth draw, was 5-year-old stallion Sanctus (by High Brow Cat) and Adan Banuelos, who brought home a check worth $14,256 for owner Scott Durham.

The second duo, Ms Baby Cakes (Metallic Cat x Special Nu Baby x Dual Rey) and owner Lloyd Cox, marked the score from draw 15, collecting $14,256. The 6-year-old mare was bred by Barker Ranch Cutting Horses LLC.

After last year’s event was canceled due to COVID-19, the 2021 Breeder’s Invitational (BI), held May 21-29 at Expo Square in Tulsa, Oklahoma, came back bigger than ever.

With more than $965,000 in added money and sales incentives up for grabs — nearly twice the total from 2019 — the show expected to see one of its biggest editions in 2021.