Sanctus & Adan Banuelos won the 2021 Breeder's Invitational Special 5 Open Championship. • Photo by S. Sylvester Photography.

Sanctus & Adan Banuelos Star in Special 5

The Special 5 returned to the Breeder’s Invitational(BI) in a big way in 2021, with horses sired by eligible stallions competing for an additional $340,000 in added money.

Winning the Special 5 Open title at the BI was Sanctus, who took the cutting world by storm as a 4-year-old, winning titles at the Abilene Spectacular, Cattlemens Derby and Classic, Non Pro Plus the Open, NCHA Summer Spectacular, West Texas Futurity and Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association Futurity.

The stallion, who was bred by Jose Isidro Sigala, went into the 2021 BI with more than $175,000 in earnings, according to Equi-Stat. On Saturday, Sanctus and new trainer Adan Banuelos, who has been showing the horse since March, rode from draw 14 to a 225 for the title.

It was the second big run of the day, as the pair also marked a 225 in the Classic/Challenge Open finals, where they finished as Co-Reserve Champions. Owner Scott Durham was impressed by the effort.

“It was a very big show and lots of good horses. It’s a tough show just because Sanctus had to go through six runs — four individual runs and then two finals runs. Across three days, that’s super tough on a horse to be able to compete at that level across that many runs,” Durham said. “To score a 225 in the Classic Open, and then come back two sets later for the Special 5 Open and score a 225, he’s a great horse. He’s a super athlete with a lot of heart, and I think he did well.”

They collected $28,530 for the Special 5 win, and another $14,256 for the Classic/Challenge Open victory.

By High Brow Cat, Sanctus is the No. 1 earner out of Sofie Rey (by Dual Rey), who won $148,767 during her own career. Sofie Rey has produced 12 money-earners, including Sanctus’ full brother, Sofies Choice Cat ($79,716).

Dr Sueish and Kenny Platt took home the Special 5 Open Reserve title with a 223.5. The pair, who recently won the 5-Year-Old Open Championship at the 2021 NCHA Super Stakes, banked $21,397 for owner Robert Tregemba. Dr Sueish (Hottish x Sues So Smart x WR This Cats Smart) was bred by Bambi Gress.

The Special 5, which was open to horses sired by stallions in the BI program, class gave them the ability to compete for money they missed out on as 4-year-olds with the 2020 BI’s cancellation due to COVID-19.

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.