Marcos Chocron-Arocha had big goals in his second National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity show. And, this year, he and RR Illegal Smile completed a goal he has meticulously stalked – the NCHA Futurity $50,000 Amateur Championship.
Astride stallion RR Illegal Smile, Chocron-Arocha advanced through the go-round and semi-final with consistent scores of 215.5 and 216.5, respectively. It was time to turn on the jets for the $50,000 Amateur finals on Tuesday, Dec. 7.
“He’s got that low look and eye appeal. The nice thing about that horse is that he’s never high speed. He’s always on low gear. You can push him and he’s charging himself, and then he explodes and goes. He gives you such a feeling of control,” Chocron-Arocha said.
RR Illegal Smile (Kit Kat Sugar x Play A Bet x Bet On Me 498) and Chocron marked a substantial 222, good for $21,315 and the $50,000 Amateur Futurity Championship.
“These last two years have been amazing,” Chocron-Arocha said, “Last year was my first year [competing] in the Futurity and I was really scared. This year, with all the work we’ve been doing at the house with Hayden and all the help, we felt really good.”
In 2020, Chocron-Arocha earned the NCHA Limited Age Event Rookie of the Year title. His diligent work with trainer Hayden Upton has seen him motor through limited age events, making finals and picking up titles such as The 2021 Cattlemen’s Amateur Derby Co-Championship on Stonecold Bessie (Once In A Blu Boon x Little Bessie Boon x Boon A Little).
“It’s not like I just put a team together for the Futurity,” Chocron-Arocha said, “We’ve been working for the last two years. It’s been amazing to have the same team over and over.”
With his dream team quite literally in his corner, Chocron-Arocha navigated tough cattle in the NCHA $50,000 Amateur Futurity Finals.
“We were a little worried because these cows were not honest. But thank God between Hayden and Michael Cooper, they found the three right cows for the horse. We thought if we just cut three clean cows, we would be just fine,” he said.
Chocron-Arocha purchased RR Illegal Smile last year as a 2-year-old from breeder Bar RR Ranches. He said the stallion’s talent and style were undeniable.
“We’ve been working this horse for the last year with Hayden, and everything we’ve done, the horse has been growing and growing,” Chocron said.
RR Illegal Smile initially caught his eye because of his sire Kit Kat Sugar.
“Last year my partner bought Kat Play, a really nice Kit Kat Sugar horse that Hayden ended up showing. I was in love with that style. When we saw [RR Illegal Smile] was a Kit Kat Sugar it was a no-brainer, we had to have him,” Chocron said.
Between RR Illegal Smile and his family, Chocron expressed gratitude for the path his cutting career has taken.
“I would like to thank Hayden Upton and Michael Cooper. They’ve been great, advising [me], holding the herd and picking out cows. Also Clay Johnson, Cullen Chartier and Harvey Kenne, telling me to push the cows a little further,” Chocron concluded.
Reserve Champion in the NCHA $50,000 Amateur Futurity was Gavin Callahan and Baroquenstylish (Bamacat x Flat Baroque x Peptoboonsmal who earned a 219 in the finals good for $16,513.