Stylish Bet and Ichis My Choice split the victory in the first round of the Mercuria NCHA Open World Finals Friday night in Fort Worth’s Watt Arena. Both horses marked 226, with Dont Stopp Believin placing third at 225.5.
Stylish Bet is bred and owned by Oxbow Ranch and ridden by Lindy Burch. The 8-year-old mare is by Docs Stylish Oak out of Bet Yer Blue Boons, the mare that Burch rode to win the 2000 NCHA World Championship. Stylish Bet’s half-brother, Bet Hesa Cat, is also an NCHA World Champion.
Stylish Bet has earned $163,000 and is now ranked seventh in the 2016 NCHA World Standings, with three working rounds left in the World Finals.
Grant Setnicka rode Ichis My Choice for J5 Horse Ranch. The 4-year-old mare was bred by EE Ranches by Cat Ichi out of My Little Abra, an Abrakadabracre mare that was reserve champion of the Abilene Spectacular and earned $64,000.
Setnicka won the Breeders Invitational and was reserve champion of the NCHA Super Stakes in limited age competition this year. The team also won the Mercuria NCHA World Series finals at El Rancho Futurity in the fall. Ichis My Choice has earned $286,000 and is sitting sixth in the World Standings.
Dont Stopp Believin, in third place in the first round of the World Finals, was bred by Waco Bend Ranch and is owned and ridden by Phil Rapp. The 5-year-old is by Dual Rey out of former World Champion and Horse of the Year Dont Look Twice.
Meanwhile, A Little Bossy, ridden by R.L. Chartier for Gary and Karen Fields, lengthened his lead in the standings by placing sixth was a 222. The 11-year-old gelding by CD Lights earned $1,689 to bring his total for the year to $91,849.
In the Non-Pro division, Judy Rogers marked a career best of 229 on Spoonfulla Cat to win by two points over Kaitlyn Wimberly and Light N Lily.
Spoonfulla Cat was bred by Rob and Carrie Tiemann by Hes A Peptospoonful out of Cats Barmaid Chick. The 8-year-old gelding was an NCHA Futurity finalist and NCHA Derby reserve champion with Jonathan Rogers, and has now earned more than $208,000.
The win moved Judy Rogers up from 10th to 4th in the 2016 Non-Pro standings.
Wimberly, however, put a lock on the World Championship with her second-place finish. She has now earned $116,952 for the year, and the math will keep her in the lead over April Widman, who currently has $89,305 in the second spot in the rankings.
At present, Wimberly has the third highest earnings ever for a Non-Pro World Champion, behind Dan Hansen with $134,396 in 2011 and Mary Jo Milner with $120,182 in 2001. Each round of the Open and Non-Pro World Finals pays $6,035 to the winner. So, with three working rounds and a “pencil” round left, both of those records are within reach for Wimberly.