My Little Denver & Clay Johnson • Photo S. Sylvester

My Little Denver & Clay Johnson Victorious at Arbuckle

Always full of promise, the regally-bred My Little Denver broke through with her first big career victory with trainer Clay Johnson at the Arbuckle Mountain Futurity.

They earned the 5/6-Year-Old Open Championship by marking a 223 in the finals, which were held Sunday, Feb. 19, in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

Even if the talented and gritty mare hadn’t won anything for her effort, he’d have been happy just experiencing the performance.

“The ride was the best,” he said. “She’s strong, and she can get left and right — and she stopped real hard.”

My Little Denver started her career in the 2021 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity, where she and Johnson made the Open semifinals. The following year, she started the year with a third-place finish in the Abilene Cutting Spectacular 4-Year-Old Open. She earned $56,200 that year, competing with Johnson in the Open and in the Non-Pro with his wife, Kelsey.

Johnson said he always knew the mare had promise. He credited some conversations with his friend and fellow cutter, Sean Flynn, for giving him ideas of things to change to get the mare into top form.

“I’ve always known it’s kind of been in there. I just had trouble getting it channeled and trouble getting it to where we could win,” said Johnson, an earner of more than $1.5 million. “I’ve started a lot of big runs are and always something’s kind of happened. And so ,we have finally, hopefully, fingers crossed, got everything kind of working.”

Johnson thanked the mares owners, Curtis and Brenda Weeks.

“I always just want to thank Curtis and Brenda and my wife, who gets her ready, and the whole team here,” he said. “We have a good little team. I try not I don’t get too carried away with much. I just like to have good horses.”

My Little Denver & Clay Johnson
My Little Denver & Clay Johnson • Photo S. Sylvester

A 2018 mare, My Little Denver is by EquiStat Elite $57 Million Sire Metallic Cat and the great broodmare My Little Abra (by Abrakadabracre). She’s a sibling to the winners of more than $875,902, including NCHA Open Horse of the Year Ichis My Choice ($428,291, by Cat Ichi) and NCHA Summer Spectacular 4-Year-Old Open Champion The Animal ($260,108, by Cat Ichi).

My Little Denver’s $75,715 in lifetime earnings make her the third-leading earner for her dam. She was bred by Fults Ranch, Ltd, of Amarillo, Texas.

Fults Ranch sold My Little Abra and her full sister, EquiStat Elite $2 Million Dam Sweet Abra, in 2021 to Teton Ridge, the entity owned by entrepreneur Thomas Tull.

The 5/6-Year-Old Open Reserve Championship went to Lucid Cat and Kody Porterfield, who marked a 222 and won $10,000 for owner Stanford Ranch Performance Horses. It capped off a big few weeks for Lucid Cat’s family, as her full brother, Metallic Casanova, recently won the Tres Osos Derby at the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Celebration of Champions.

Both are by EquiStat Elite $57 Million Sire Metallic Cat and out of Dark And Sultry (by Spots Hot).

Click here for full results of the Arbuckle Mountain 5/6-Year-Old Open.