Don’t Look Twice/Phil Rapp Gain Ground In Horse Of Year Race With No. 3 Classic Open Finish

Dont Look Twice With Phil & Mary Ann Rapp
There’s still a lot of time left and a few strong contenders chasing them, but Dont Look Twice and Phil Rapp boosted their lead in the season-long 2011 National Cutting Horse Association Open Horse of the Year race by placing third during late July's Classic/Challenge Open event at the NCHA Summer Spectacular in Fort Worth.

The 6-year-old mare and Rapp have earned more than $570,000 as cutters since the start of the 2009 cutting season. By finishing third with a 221 in the Summer Spectacular Classic/Challenge Open finals July 19 in Fort Worth, they earned $25,590 and six more Horse of the Year points to gain ground on all three of their apparent top rivals. None of her top rivals made it past the second round and none of them earned points at the show.

Dont Look Twice (High Brow Cat x Tapt Twice x Dual Pep) and Rapp, Weatherford, Texas, the mare’s co-breeder along with his wife, Mary Ann Rapp, has trained and ridden “Lipstick” for owners Waco Bend Ranch, Graham, Texas, throughout her career. Dont Look Twice and Rapp finished a close second to 2005 stallion Metallic Cat (High Brow Cat x Chers Shadow x Peptoboonsmal) and his career-long trainer, Beau Galyean, Amarillo, Texas, in the 2009 Horse of the Year chase. They also finished a close third in 2010 behind NCHA Open Horse of the Year LHR Smooth Jamie May (Smooth As A Cat x Just Scarlet x Smart Lil Ricochet), a 2006 mare ridden by Phil Hanson, and Third Cutting, a 2005 stallion (Boonlight Dancer x Crab Grass x Smart Little Lena) ridden by Boyd Rice.

Heading into August, Dont Look Twice and Rapp have already earned 58 Open Horse of the Year points. They did it by winning limited-age titles at Tunica and Arbuckle Mountain futurities, plus any-age Mercuria/NCHA World Series of Cutting Open Championships in Houston and Oklahoma City. They also picked up points by making Open finals at April’s NCHA Super Stakes in Fort Worth and at limited-age events in Graham, Texas, and Glen Flora, Texas, earlier in the year.

One Time Royalty and Lloyd Cox, Longmont, Colo., took the early lead as they claimed 30 NCHA Open Horse of the Year points with a big December Futurity Open victory. They remain within striking of the year-end top spot with 40 points heading into August. A limited-age victory at any qualified NCHA Horse of the Year events instantly earns the Champion 12 more Horse of the Year points, so the standings can quickly change.

One Time Royalty (One Time Pepto x Royal Serena Belle x Shorty Lena), owned by Matthews Cutting Horses LLC, Weatherford, Texas, certainly has the potential to pull off another big win. He started his career by winning the 2010 NCHA Futurity Open finals with Cox while posting an all-time event-record record 230. The duo has reached finals at three more early 2011 events, including April’s NCHA Super Stakes in Fort Worth.

Royally-bred Blue One Time (One Time Pepto x Quintan Blue x Mecom Blue), owned by Dave and Georgia Husby, Weatherford, Texas, and trained and ridden by Clint Allen, Weatherford, Texas, also ranks as a contender with 32 Horse of the Year points heading into August. The 4-year-old stallion has reached four more finals, with a Championship and two Reserve Championships in early 2011, after debuting with a tie for eighth place in the Open finals during his December NCHA Futurity Open debut

Blue One Time and One Time Royalty, though, both lost ground by failing to making Open finals and earning no points at July’s NCHA Summer Spectacular in Fort Worth.

Dont Look Twice and Rapp picked up six points by placing third in the NCHA Summer Spectacular Classic/Challenge Open finals with a 221. They could have earned six more points if they’d have matched the Reserve Champion’s 222 effort.

Bet Hesa Cat & Austin Shepard
Five-year-old stallion Bet Hesa Cat (High Brow Cat x Bet Yer Blue Boons x Freckles Playboy) and career-long trainer and rider Austin Shepard, Summerdale, Ala., have also positioned themselves to post a unique last-season big for this year’s NCHA Open Horse of the Year title. That’s despite the fact they have only earned 19 points so far.

Bet Hesa Cat, bred by Lindy Burch’s Owbow Ranch and owned by a syndicate including Burch and Shepard, has a shot at the year-end title because he led the NCHA 2011 any-age Open horse standings by more than $15,000 with $41,830 earned through late July.

Bet Hesa Cat, a double-threat to earn points throughout the rest of the year at limited-age and Mercuria/NCHA World Series of Cutting shows, would earn late 30 Horse of he Year points if he secures the year-end any-age Open World Championship. And there are also 12 points up for grabs for the Show Championship title during the season-ending any-age NCHA Open World Finals. They’ll take place during late fall in Fort Worth.

Dont Look Twice and Rapp don’t plan to automatically yield any of those late-season points. The mare ranked second in the any-age Open standings, behind only Bet Hesa Cat, with $26,080 earned as of July 22. The year-end NCHA Open Reserve Champion also earns 10 points and any horse that finishes No. 3 though No. 15 picks up six points.

If you’re wondering about Third Cutting, his co-owner, Carl Smith, Jacksboro, Texas, said “TC,” who had 28 Horse of the Year points after tying for fourth in last week’s Classic/Challenge Open, probably competed for the last time during that July 19 run.

Whether Don’t Look Twice earns her first Open Horse of the Year title in her third try will depend on how she and others fare during the fall futurity and any-age seasons.