The sky’s the limit

August 29th, 2019

The NCHA Futurity, held from late November through mid-December, is the gold standard, as well as the tap root of all limited age cutting horse events. As such, it has spawned other 3-year-old events, with the caveat that horses performing in events preceding it are not eligible to be shown in the NCHA Futurity. And over the years, these “early fall futurities” have helped to build and strengthen limited age event competition, including NCHA Triple Crown events in Fort Worth.

Early fall futurities, such as the recently concluded 2019 West Texas Futurity, offer an option for horses who, for a variety of reasons, might benefit from a gradual transition to major league events. As an example, five out of 11 winners of the West Texas Open Futurity between 2009 and 2018 went on to earn $100,000 or more during their careers.

Following her 2018 West Texas Futurity win, Stylish Hailee LTE $112,574, shown by James Payne for Kathleen Moore, won the 2018 Southern Futurity and the 2018 Cotton Stakes Futurity, then went to Fort Worth, where she placed fourth in the 2019 NCHA Derby and ninth in the NCHA Super Stakes. Payne and Moore also teamed up in the 2014 West Texas Futurity with winner DMAC Spicy Spoon LTE $151,871, who placed second in the 2014 Brazos Bash, then earned an even bigger paycheck as fifth-placed finalist in the 2015 NCHA Open Super Stakes.

Other former West Texas Futurity Open champions who went on to become substantial money earners include Smooth As I Can LTE $175,832, shown by Matt Miller in 2012 for Janice Eaton, and Sweet Baby Marie LTE $171,186, shown by Miller in 2016 for Joel Colgrove.

Boon San Kitty, shown by Eddie Flynn for her breeder, Walton’s Rocking W Ranch, is the richest mare not to have been shown in the NCHA Futurity. At three, the High Brow Cat daughter out of Boon San Sally won the 2003 PCCHA Futurity, the first of her seven major limited age event championships, and at four she claimed the title of 2004 NCHA Open Horse of the Year. Boon San Kitty retired as one of NCHA’s all-time leading money earners, with official earnings of $498,188.

RW Sallycat, Boon San Kitty’s full sister, was entered in the 2003 NCHA Futurity, but did not advance to the semi-finals. She did, however, go on to earn $110,781 with Flynn, as well as with her owner, Alice Walton.

While Boon San Kitty is the richest mare not to have been entered in the NCHA Futurity, Dont Look Twice, NCHA’s all-time leading female money earner, was entered and did not advance to the semi-finals. However, shown by Phil Rapp for Louis and Corliss Baldwin, the High Brow Cat daughter followed her 2008 NCHA Futurity experience with an unparalled career during which she earned $824,546.

Owned by Jim Vangilder and shown by Roger Wagner and Jim Vangilder, Pet Squirrel, was another successful early contender, who won four events at three, including the 2005 Music City Futurity Open and Non-Pro titles, and the Brazos Bash and Suncoast Futurity Open championships. In short order, in January 2006, the Playdox daughter captured the 2006 Abilene Spectacular Non-Pro championship and Open reserve titles, and the Augusta Futurity Open. Pet Squirrel concluded her limited age career at six with high-dollar finishes in seven events, including the Breeders Invitational 5/6 Open championship, and with lifetime earnings of $389,160.

For results follow these links to popular 2019 fall futurities: ICHA Futurity, Aug. 24-Sept.1; Cotton Stakes, Sept. 1-8; El Rancho Futurity, Sept. 6-15; Brazos Bash, Sept. 18-29; PCCHA Futurity, Oct. 3-12; Southern Futurity, Oct. 19-26.

Cutting’s crown jewel, the NCHA Futurity, begins on Thursday, Nov. 21 and concludes on Sunday, Dec. 15.

The 2019 NCHA World Finals, held simultaneously with the NCHA Futurity at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum in Fort Worth, runs from Friday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 7.

The NCHA Futurity Sales will be held from Monday, Dec. 9 through Saturday, Dec. 14, in the Will Rogers Memorial Center’s Watt Arena and John Justin Sale Arena.