Kenny Platt and Moms Stylish Player parlayed impressive go-round scores to a decisive win in the Open finals of the 2016 Lucas Oil NCHA Super Stakes in Fort Worth Saturday night. They marked 228 to take the lead from Grant Setnicka and Ichis My Choice, who scored 222.5 in the run preceding Moms Stylish Player.
Moms Stylish Player, by Lizzys Gotta Player, marked a 226 in the first round. Adding his 219 in the second round gave him a 445 cumulative score, which many have called a Super Stakes record. He came back to top the semi-finals with a 223.
“When I marked those big scores in the go-rounds, it wasn’t because I necessarily over-showed him, or cut too much cow for him,” said Platt. “I just showed him to get through a run, and I cut clean.
“Before I went down there tonight, Grant (Setnicka) gave me a pep talk to show him like I did through the go-rounds, and I just tried to show him through a good run.”
The way that played out was cutting one of their choices right off the top, and then getting a quick second cow before going in for a deep cut.
“I hate cutting a cow that’s in a bad spot, so if I see something that’s in a good spot, I usually try to cut it first, and make a deep cut a little bit later,” Platt said. “Sometimes it gets me in a bind having a little too much time on my third cut, but it gets me in there working.
“Tonight, the last cow scared me to death. I’m pretty sure I almost had a heart attack.
I didn’t know if the buzzer ran out at the end because I didn’t hear it.”
Platt credited his help, Setnicka, Lloyd Cox, T.J. Good and Clay Johnson, and his wife, Rebecca–who preps the horse–and owner Robert Tregemba for his Super Stakes success.
Moms Stylish Player was bred by Drummond Land & Cattle Co out of Moms Stylish Babe, a mare that has produced earners of more than $950,000 now, including Cat Mom Do ($199,000), Card Trick ($178,000), My Lizzy Babe ($162,000), Lizzys Gotta Babe ($91,137) and Stylish Lizzie ($90,000).
Moms Stylish Babe is out of $908,000 producer Playboys Mom, who in turn is out of Lenaette, the mare that Shorty Freeman rode to win the 1975 NCHA Futurity.
Moms Stylish Player earned an unofficial $91,969 for the win, including $25,000 to the winner sponsored by Alvin and Becky Fults’ Metallic Cat. He also won the Open Gelding class within a class, to take his unofficial career earnings over $119,000.
Along with money earned as a Super Stakes Classic finalist on A Smooth Dually, Platt will go over the $1 million mark with his Super Stakes earnings.
Platt took a liking to Moms Stylish Player as a yearling at the Western Bloodstock Sales, but got talked out of buying him because of the horse’s size.
“He was tiny and he had a big pot belly,” Platt recalled. “I could have gone in the stall and lifted him up and carried him out of there.”
But he kept tabs on him as his friend, Lawson Hadlock, brought the horse along as a 2-year-old. Eventually he gave him a test ride, and it was all over.
Moms Stylish Player went well through the first two rounds of the NCHA Futurity, but didn’t get past the semi-finals.
“It was kind of a blessing because people stopped asking if he was for sale,” Platt said. “People kind of wrote him off as just another horse.
“I knew he wasn’t and I took him home and just worked at it every day. He’s been a tough horse to train. It’s not a battle, but sure enough I’ve worked every day, but he’s really paid me back in the last couple months. He’s what I thought he was when I tried him.
“Which is really cool.”
At 27, Platt is the fourth youngest rider to win the Super Stakes (behind Cara Barry, 22; Phil Rapp, 24; and Pete Branch, 26).
Reserve champion Grant Setnicka rode Ichis My Choice for J5 Horse Ranch. Bred by EE Ranches, the mare is by Cat Ichi out of My Little Abra. Setnicka placed 9th in the NCHA Futurity with her, and was reserve champion at the Cattlemen’s Derby this spring.