Two years ago, Junie Wood and rider John Mitchell won the National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes 4-year-old open division title after turning in a lofty finals score of 229.
Last year, Mitchell and the mare won the Super Stakes’ 5- and 6-year-old open division title with a 226.
At this year’s Super Stakes, Junie Wood and Mitchell, a Weatherford cowboy, are off to a great start in the 5- and 6-year-old open division title race. The duo turned in a first-round score of 217.5 in a preliminary round where riders tend to be more conservative and mainly focus on scoring just high enough to advance to the next round.
Junie Wood and Mitchell advanced to Round Two. The second round is scheduled for Sunday at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.
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She’s been so consistent. It’s amazing. She’s so quick and smart. It’s second to no horse that I’ve had. She’s just done it year after year.
John Mitchell on Junie Wood
A field of 122 horses, which turned in a score of at least 213.5, advanced to the second round. Morgan Cromer and Maid of Metal won the first round with a 222.
Mitchell said he was pleased with Junie Wood’s first-round performance and praised the mare for her steadfastness.
“She’s been so consistent,” Mitchell said. “It’s amazing. She’s so quick and smart.”
When Mitchell and Junie Wood made their first-round run, the duo worked three cows during the allotted 2 1/2 minutes. Mitchell said the last cow was difficult to keep at bay.
“That last cow I cut, most horses wouldn’t hold it,” Mitchell said. “But she’s very quick and got ahold of that cow.”
Mitchell said Junie Wood has a great track record for keeping tougher cows from returning to the herd.
“She can hold cattle that really get away from other horses because she’s so fast,” Mitchell said. “She can beat a cow to that spot that is trying to trick one. Once she does that twice, then the cow weakens that little bit to where you can hold them. If a cow learns there’s a [weak] spot there, they just come stronger and stronger and that’s when you get ran over.”
Mitchell said he doesn’t ask Junie Wood to work overly difficult cattle during the preliminary rounds where no prize money is at stake. But once they reach the final round, he willingly asks Junie Wood to work tougher cattle in order to generate a higher score.
Mitchell said Junie Wood has proven she can hold the tougher cows in clutch situations.
I’ve had some great mares and I’ve been very, very fortunate. But she’s the highest money earner that I’ve shown and has the most championships.
Mitchell on Junie Wood
“It gives you the confidence to take the risk on some of those cattle you don’t really want to cut,” Mitchell said.
Junie Wood, which is owned by the Slate River Ranch of Weatherford, has NCHA earnings of $498,271. Mitchell said she’s the best horse he’s ever shown.
“It’s second to none,” he said. “It’s second to no horse that I’ve had. She’s just done it year after year. She’s done it in a style and a class of a champion. She’s done it over and over. I’ve had some great mares and I’ve been very, very fortunate. But she’s the highest money earner that I’ve shown and has the most championships. I don’t want to be unfair to the other horses that I’ve shown, but she’s that good and she’s that lucky.”