• Western Bloodstock, Ltd

Limited Open – Unlimited opportunity

December 3rd, 2017

As the debut for many of the best bred cutting horses in the world, the NCHA Futurity is the launch pad for new talent. But in addition to its four-legged contestants, the show offers career-making opportunities for up-and-coming riders.

The Limited Open division of the Futurity, which was held last week, is reserved for riders with less than $200,000 in earnings on a rolling three-year basis. This year, a record 24 horses in the Open semi-finals will be shown by riders who entered the Limited Open. The previous record was 18 Limited Open entries in the Open semi-finals in 2009.

Tony Piggott

Tony Piggott

Tarin Rice.

And these riders are not necessarily fighting for a piece of the Hall of Famers’ leftovers. Two riders, Tony Piggott in 2009 and Tarin Rice in 2012, won the Open Futurity in the same year they showed in the Limited finals. Three others, John Mitchell in 1998, Ryon Emerton in 2008 and Kody Porterfield in 2015, placed third in the “big” finals after showing in the Limited.

In all, 178 Limited Open entries have had their shot in the Open semi-finals from 1990 through last year. Fifty-two of them have qualified for the Open finals.

At this Saturday’s semi-finals, all eyes will be on Pedro Ornelas, who won the Limited Open with a 224 on Little Jo Cat.

Then there’s John Sanislow (Im Quintan Checks), Ty Brown (CR Smart Boots) and Wes Ashlock (Reyzemehot), who posted the second, third and fourth highest scores of all Open riders from the go-rounds, 441.5, 439.5 and 439, respectively.

Ashlock and Chris Johnsrud both have two horses in the semi-finals. Ashlock’s other horse is Ketamine Kat. Johnsrud will be riding Rey Good Lookin and Mister Silver Pistol.

This year’s Limited riders who are past Open finalists include Greg Wright, who will be riding Sugarush in the semi-finals, Kody Porterfield (Fancy Cutting), Chris Johnsrud (Rey Good Lookin and Mister Silver Pistol), Nate Lansford (Cat About Houston), and Wayne Robinson (Scoots Peptolena).

But for people who look for omens, it’s worth noting that the two past Open champions who won after showing in the Limited finals, Piggott and Rice, both finished fourth in the Limited Open in their respective years. There was a tie for fourth this year, between Chris Johnsrud on Rey Good Lookin and Lindy Northcutt on Thatz All Folks.

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