A year ago, superstar riders Phil Rapp and Lloyd Cox shared the open division title at the National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes after each cowboy turned in a final-round score of 223.
At this year’s Super Stakes, which is running this month at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum, rider Kenneth Platt and a gelding named Moms Stylish Player won the first round with a lofty 226.
That’s an unusually high score for a preliminary round, in which riders typically do not prompt their horses to perform overly difficult tasks. Riders aspire to score just high enough to move on to the next round. They tend to take more risks more during the finals when the big prize money is at stake.
When Platt rode into the herd on Wednesday in the early stages of the first round of the 4-year-old open division, he wasn’t planning on making the type of run that would generate a 226.
“It kind of fell into place more than anything,” Platt said. “I really was just trying to get through a run.”
The first round concluded Friday night. The second round is scheduled Saturday and Sunday and the semifinal is April 15. The final, which is the second jewel of the sport’s Triple Crown Series, is April 16.
In December, Platt, who is from Fort Lupton, Colo., and Moms Stylish Player reached the semifinal round at the NCHA Futurity, which is the first jewel of the Triple Crown.
“That horse has been a really nice horse, but I haven’t been able to get him to show like I wanted and needed to,” Platt said of Moms Stylish Player. “But this time [at the Super Stakes], it just really worked. I cut three amazing cows and my horse wanted to be really good. I wanted to be really clean. It wasn’t necessarily an unbelievably tough run. He just controlled everything so well and made it look so good. I actually felt easy.”
Platt said Moms Stylish Player previously had not produced a score near 226.
“He’s been kind of a hard-luck horse,” Platt said. “I have been having to spend a lot of time putting him together. I don’t even know that he’s all the way there yet. But he was good [on Wednesday at the Super Stakes].”
Platt said Moms Stylish Player thrives on a great working style
“He has an unbelievable style,” Platt said. “He’s very low-headed. He stops really hard. He doesn’t give away. Everything he does, he does with a style that’s not like anything else. He’s different than any horse I’ve ever had.”
Platt has had success at Fort Worth NCHA aged events in recent years.
In 2013, he finished seventh in the open division at the NCHA Futurity on Rubys CD with a finals score of 219.5.
In 2010, Platt won the John Deere Open Division title at the Futurity on Downtown Smarts with a 221.