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Ridden by Austin Shepard, Wood She B Magic won her first Open Championship at the Augusta Futurity. • Photo by S. Sylvester Photography.

Wood She B Magic Gritty in Augusta Futurity Finals

Wood She B Magic started her career as the highest-priced 2-year-old Western performance horse in recent memory to be sold at public auction. Now, she’s a limited-age event Open champion.

With Austin Shepard aboard, the daughter of Woody Be Tuff marked a 220.5 to win the Augusta Futurity 4-Year-Old Open Saturday night in Perry, Georgia. She was one of four horses Shepard had in the finals at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricultural Center.

The mare owned by Billy Wolf just seems to have something special, Shepard said after the show.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever ridden a mare that’s as strong as she is. I don’t know that I’ve read very many studs that are strong as she is –– physically what she can do. But she’s just so smart and mature and willing. She feels like you’re showing and or working a 6-year-old.”

The mare showcased her strength – and try –  on a spirited second cow in the 4-Year-Old Open finals in Georgia.

“And as soon as I got [the cow] separated, she took off and I’m not sure how that mare held it,” Shepard said. “She tried to run over me the whole time I worked her, but the mare really gutted up to try and was super smart and very, very, very mature. She handled that excellent. It was incredible how she did it.”

Star Mare

Wood She B Magic is a rare horse who made headlines before she even walked into a show pen. In her case, she turned heads when purchased for an eye-catching $1,050,000 as a 2-year-old at the 2020 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Sale.

She returned to the NCHA Futurity last December, placing third with Shepard in the Open. She marked a 224 that day, earning $166,061 for owner Wolf, of Wolf Livestock.

Shepard acknowledged there were expectations for the mare, but said he didn’t feel any pressure from the owner.

“A mare like that, she deserves to do well and that’s the pressure that I put on myself, as her trainer,” he said. “[It’s] not ‘I need to win this cutting because she brought a million dollars,’ but this is a really legitimate winning horse, we need to do good everywhere we go.”

Shepard, who has won more than $9.1 million riding cutting horses, says Wood She B Magic ranks in a special category among the horses he’s ridden during his career.

“I try to do the best job I can do for her, because she’s an extra special horse. And you know, I get to ride a lot of really nice horses, [but] you don’t get to ride many like her – horses like her and Dual Reyish and Bama Jelly and High Brow CD, those kind of horses,” he said. “They don’t come around very often, no matter how much money you spend. I don’t know … She just kind of has something that makes her special.”

Wolf, who attended this year’s show and has found success at the event before, notably with Dual Reyish in the 2020 5/6-Year-Old Open, praised Wood She B Magic’s talents as well.

“She’s just fun to watch,” he said. “I mean, she’s got a little bit of everything.”

The win this weekend in Georgia was worth $24,652 for Wood She B Magic’s connections: $17,000 for the 4-Year-Old Open win and another $7,652 for topping the Augusta Futurity Stallion Incentive.

Bred by Waco Bend Ranch, of Graham, Texas, Wood She B Magic is out of Magic Metallic (by Metallic Cat). Her second dam is leading producer Sweet Abra, a daughter of Abrakadabracre who has foaled the winners of more than $2.1 million – the vast majority of which were full siblings to Magic Metallic.

Family Connection

The Augusta Futurity 4-Year-Old Open Reserve Championship went to Shepard’s son, Cade, who piloted Cupids Midnite Train to a 219.5 for owner Joel Colgrove. It was a Shepard-centric finals: Austin had four of the 4-Year-Old Open finalists and Cade had three.

Competing in the finals with Cade was meaningful for Shepard, whose late father, Sam, was a judge at the first edition of the Augusta Futurity and later won his own championships.

In addition to the Reserve Championship, Cade finished tenth on Madalyn Cowart’s Crimsonnette – a horse he won the NCHA Limited Open Futurity Championship on in December – and eleventh on Peanut Butter Shake, a horse owned by his father.

“Having him as a professional now and being successful and him not only doing a good job, but the customers that we have that have faith in him and give him opportunities,” Austin Shepard said. “You know, I can remember how good that felt to me when I was his age; and people putting in their faith in me to pay a big entry fee or let me ride their nice horse.

“It’s just a really feel-good moment.”