Sally Cats Hot lived up to her name with a 224-point win for Walton’s Rocking W Ranch, under Jesse Lennox, in the John Deere Open Super Stakes Classic Thursday night at the NCHA Super Stakes, presented by XTO Energy.
Sheez All That and Nick O’Dell scored 219.5 points for reserve, while One Time Shorty and John Kirby placed third with 218.
“She always wants it more than you do and that’s a nice feeling,” said Lennox, 23, who realized his first major win with Sally Cats Hot, a Spots Hot daughter from the sixth generation of Alice Walton-bred horses.
“It was just a lot of effort on my help’s part to keep me focused and in the right mental state,” Lennox added.
“She’s a special mare with an unbelievable heart,” said Walton. “And Jesse has to underride her because she is such an over-achiever.
“It’s one of the neatest wins we’ve ever had. And Jesse is one of the finest young men I have ever had the joy of working with.”
Six-year-old Sally Cats Hot is out of RW Sally Cat, by High Brow Cat, NCHA career earner of over $110,000 and finalist in the 2005 NCHA Super Stakes Classic.
Sally Cats Hot’s maternal granddam is Boon San Sally, producer of the earners of over $1 million, including 2004 NCHA Horse of the Year Boon San Kitty.
Lennox grew up in Ottawa, Canada, where his parents are social workers and his father is a college professor. His uncle, Gary Tresider, turned him on to cutting, and Gerry Hansma was his first mentor. But it was Casey Green, who trained and showed Sally Cats Hot at 3, who convinced Lennox to move to Texas, where he connected with Rocking W and Alice Walton.
Sheez All That also lived up to her name with back-to-back performances on Thursday. The Cat Ichi daughter’s 219.5-point reserve championship run with Nick O’Dell came on the heels of her 212-point performance with owner Rene Brown in the Amateur go-round.
“We haven’t doubled up a lot, but as long as you do your job, she does hers,” said O’Dell, who started Sheez All That at two.
“She’s so cow smart and really wants to do her job.”
Brown, pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist in Baton Rouge, La, has limited time to show. “I try to go to four or five limited age events, following Nick, and three or four weekend shows a year,” said Brown, with $3,700 in lifetime earnings and an NCHA Eastern National Amateur finalist this year on Sheez All That. “I just let Nick do his job and the horse do her job, and it takes care of itself.”