Gelding wins NCHA Super Stakes open division title in Fort Worth

Posted Saturday, Apr. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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When the title was at stake Saturday night at the NCHA Super Stakes, the cattle were tough and it was very difficult to produce an eye-catching score.

A field of 24 horses worked in the open division finals, and no horse was marked in the elite 220s.

It was the cutting horse equivalent of the 6-3 NFL postseason win, or similar to a 1-0 victory in the major league playoffs.

But this was the Super Stakes, which is the second jewel of the sport’s Triple Crown Series, and serious cutting horse fans were watching with great interest.

After the last cow was cut, Wesley Galyean, of Claremore, Okla., and a gelding named Hes A Hot Cat clinched the open title with a 219 at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.

The victory earned Don Gilbert, a Louisianan, the coveted $100,000 prize.

James Payne and Quick Be Cat finished second with a 217.5, and owner Ty Moore of Madill, Okla., walked away with $66,972.

Galyean and Hes A Hot Cat were the fifth duo to work in the first bunch of cattle. That’s a pretty ideal slot because there’s still a lot of fresh cattle to choose from, which can help generate a higher score, and the herd is pretty well settled by that time.

Galyean and Hes A Hot Cat rose to the occasion.

“He’s a real athlete and really can stop, and move and he’s a horse that seems to be pretty cowy,” said Galyean, using the term for being very gifted with a knack for reading a testy cow.

Triple Crown update

Fans will have to wait until the next year’s Super Stakes to begin rooting for a potential Triple Crown winner.

The Super Stakes is the middle jewel of the series, and traditionally falls four months after the December Futurity, which is the first jewel. The July Summer Spectacular Derby is the third jewel. All three shows are in Fort Worth.

Ronnie Rice and CR Tuff Hearted Cat, who finished first at the December Futurity, entered the Super Stakes open division finals with a great chance to win.

But when the title was at stake, CR Tuff Hearted Cat turned in a 216 and tied for fifth place. When the mare won the Futurity on Dec. 15, she posted a 222.5.

Only three horses have won the Triple Crown. The latest was Chiquita Pistol, who was ridden by Tag Rice during the 2002-2003 season. Tag Rice is Ronnie Rice’s son.

The other two in the elite class are Smart Little Lena (1982-1983) and rider Bill Freeman and Docs Okie Quixote and Joe Heim (1983-1984).

Non-pro champion

It also was tough to earn a big score in the non-pro finals. After the field of 24 horses had worked, Ray Baldwin of Fort Worth and a mare named Shesa Hollywoodcat clinched the title after turning in a 216.5.

Baldwin, who earned $28,355, said he thrived on a dependable horse.

“She’s just got so much integrity,” he said. “When she works a cow, she’s very explosive. When I put my hand down and she begins working, she has so much intensity.”

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