The action at The Ike Derby and Classic continued in West Monroe, Louisiana, on Jan. 31 with the 4-Year-Old Open finals. Reyzurbetsonthiscat and Craig Thompson came out on top to secure the Championship.
Thompson and the gelding (Bet Hesa Cat x Ariel Rey x Dual Rey) cruised through the go-rounds with a 216.5 and a 218, comfortably making the finals, which consisted of 21 horse-and-rider combinations. They were draw No. 12, and laid down a solid 223 to take the lead. The next nine horses were unable to top their score, so they sent home a check for $22,000 to owner Barnwell Ramsey.
"He's a real nice, solid, smart gelding," Thompson said of "Rey." "He held some tough cows in the second round and was real spot on and consistent. I felt good about him. In the finals, the first set of cattle was a little bit tough, and then the second set of cattle, they appeared to be a little bit better. We had a few cows on our list that we really liked and so we went down there with a plan."
Prior to arriving in Louisiana, Thompson, an Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Rider, and Rey had claimed the 4-Year-Old Open Championship at the August Futurity, where they also marked a 223 for the win. Last year, Ramsey, of Huntersville, North Carolina, and the Linda Holsey-bred gelding took home the Amateur Championship at the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity.
"It's a blessing and we're all thankful, so hopefully we can keep it going," Thompson said of his back-to-back wins with Rey. "The plan for now is for us to get as much won on him as we can and to maintain him as an open horse. If we're at a major in Fort Worth or something and I don't get along far on him, Barney may show him, but right now, we're just going to try to keep him in open competition."
Rey also picked up the Gelding Championship at The Ike, which added an additional $2,854 to his bankroll. So far, he has racked up earnings totaling more than $55,000, making him the second-highest money-earner on his sire’s offspring record of nearly $650,000. He is the fourth money-earner out of Ariel Rey and is a half-brother to Melodys Pepto ($135,403, by Peptoboonsmal), Jay Moss Cougar ($120,665, by High Brow Cougar) and Smooth Reychelle ($8,306, by Smooth As A Cat).
Leigh and Holly Bilton’s Hes Real Special (Dual Smart Rey x Special Nu Kitty x High Brow Cat) and Casey Green marked a 220 in the finals to take home the Reserve Championship and a paycheck worth $18,597.
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