Countin Hot Checks and Jaime Snider saved the best for last.
To the roar of the crowd, Snider and the son of Hottish pulled off a victory Saturday night in the 5/6-Year-Old Open at the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Summer Spectacular.
Their score of 227 surged past the leaders, Sanctus and Adan Banuelos, who were attempting to win their second straight championship in the event.
It was Snider’s first big win at Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth. Even after the awards ceremony, it looked like the trainer couldn’t quite believe it.
“[I’m] a little overwhelmed, to be honest with you,” he said. “[It’s] just the first one I’ve won in this arena. I’ve been second before… I’ve been close numerous times in here. And like last year, I probably has as good a run as ever had and got run over, so it’s just kind of an unreal feeling still.”
The win was an extremely popular one, with the crowd getting louder and louder with each cow Snider and Countin Hot Checks cut from the herd. The audience at an NCHA finals in Will Rogers knows a good run when it sees one, and it also knows when someone is seconds away from getting a championship they’d come heartbreakingly close to before.
“It makes you feel very good … everybody supporting you,” said Snider, who together with Sly Playgirl was just a half-point shy of victory in the 2013 NCHA Super Stakes in the Coliseum. ” We all work as a team together. All of us are out here, but it’s nice to know when you put your hand down how many people are behind you.”
The victory paid $20,534 for owner-breeder Jamie Hill, of Bastrop, Texas, and pushed the stallion’s lifetime earnings to more than $152,604.
The win at an NCHA Triple Crown event in Fort Worth was the icing on the cake for what has thus far been a very good aged event career for Countin Hot Checks. His previous show pen highlight came in the 2020 Brazos Bash, where he and Snider marked a huge 228 to tie for the derby co-championship. They also won the 5/6-Year-Old Championship at last year’s Bonanza Cutting and made the Open finals at many aged events.
Hill, who has earnings of more than $328,000, also competes aboard Countin Hot Checks – and rode him to the Reserve Championship this year in the 5/6-Year-Old Non-Pro Limited at the Arbuckle Mountain Futurity show. They also were fifth in the 4-Year-Old Non-Pro Intermediate at the 2020 NCHA Summer Spectacular.