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Sanctus and Adan Banuelos during the Classic/Challenge Open finals on Saturday, July 24, 2021. • Photo by Molly Montag.

Sanctus Scores Back-To-Back Wins at NCHA Summer Spectacular

The word Sanctus translates to “holy” in Latin. In cutting, it has become synonymous with “win.”

Sanctus the horse won his second major championship at the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Metallic Cat Summer Spectacular on Sunday night, taking the Classic/Challenge Open Championship with Adan Banuelos. It came one year after he won the Derby Open title at the show with his previous trainer, Rodrigo Taboga.

It’s been a whirlwind for owner Scott Durham, who has watched the son of High Brow Cat win several major championships. The $21,058 champion’s check from the NCHA Summer Spectacular boosted his career earnings to more than $248,778.

“It’s just been a very, very fun ride, but truly a gift from the man upstairs,” said Durham, of Fort Worth. “I truly believe that and I think that the horse is just phenomenal. He’s such an athlete, and got such a great heart.”

This year, the stallion and Banuelos won with a 228. The Reserve title went to Austin Shepard and Bama Jelly (by Bamacat), who marked a 223.

Sanctus entered the finals after tough draws in the go-rounds, Durham said, and in the finals drew deep in the first of two sets.

“We’ve kind of been at the bottom of the draw in each, and that’s always makes it tough,” he said. “But I knew coming in 15th out of 17 in the draw today that we had to connect with cows.

“It all It all depends on the cows; it all has to match up and I knew if we could get the right cows that we would probably do well, and Adan just did that.”

Bred by Jose Isidro Sigala, of Weatherford, Texas, Sanctus is the leading earner out of the mare Sofie Rey, a daughter of Dual Rey who competed in the Open, Non-Pro and Amateur divisions. Her competition career included appearances at the NCHA Summer Spectacular three times – earning the Classic/Challenge Amateur Reserve Championship at 5 and making the Open and Non-Pro finals of that class at age 6.

In the breeding barn, she’s foaled 12 money earners of more than $570,000. In addition to Sanctus, her highest money winners are Sofies Choice Cat ($79,716, by High Brow Cat) and Charly ($41,686, by Metallic Cat).