Armando Costa Neto
Armando Costa Neto and Watch Me Whip. Hart Photography.

Armando Costa Neto, Weatherford, Tex., scored 224 points on Thursday, December 10 in Fort Worth, to claim the title of NCHA Futurity Non-Pro Champion. Michelle Cowan, Ardmore, Okla., and Ashley Flynn, Weatherford, Tex., tied with 218 points as reserve champions.

“She’s the whole package,” said Costa of Watch Me Whip, a Playgun daughter that he raised and trained. “She tries to stop that cow every time.”

Watch Me Whip and Costa qualified for the Finals with a Semi-Finals score of 217.5 points, after earning the second-highest cumulative score of 436.5 points from the go-rounds.

Costa, a Brazilian native who manages Barrinha LLC in Weatherford, purchased Watch Me Whip’s dam, Look The Look, through the 2010 NCHA Futurity Futurity Sale. The High Brow Cat daughter, trained by John Mitchell, was shown by both Mitchell and Costa as an Open and Non-Pro finalist in the 2011 NCHA Futurity and had career earnings of $172,784.

“John Mitchell is the one that wanted me to breed her mom to Playgun and he turned out to be right,” said Costa. Playgun, a leading sire of NCHA earners of more than $7 million, owned by Pieper Ranch, Marietta, Okla., died at the age of 23, just days before the 2015 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro Finals.

Trained by Jody Galyean and shown by Galyean and Pieper, Playgun earned $168,408 during his show career, which included grand slam Open and Non-Pro championship wins in the 1996 Augusta Futurity. Playgun’s dam, Miss Silver Pistol, won the 1985 NCHA Non-Pro Futurity with Wes Shahan, who bred Playgun, and Tag Rice was reserve champion of the 2001 NCHA Open Futurity on the gelded Playgun son Mr Beamon.

Look The Look, Watch Me Whip’s dam, is out of a half-sister to the dam of NCHA Futurity Non-Pro Co-Reserve Champion Michelle Cowan’s mount Iridescent Cat, by Catty Hawk. Iridescent Cat’s dam, Smart Lookin Hi Brow LTE $216,395, is out of The Smart Look, a leading producer of the earners of more than $1.6 million, including 2003 NCHA Open Futurity champion One Smart Lookin Cat.

Co-champion Ashley Flynn was aboard LHR Smooth James Rey, by Dual Rey out of LHR Smooth Jamie May LTE $251,430, the 2010 NCHA Derby Open champion and Horse of the Year with Phil Hanson. Flynn won the 2009 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro Ltd. championship aboard Bobs A Player and the 2014 NCHA Non-Pro World Finals on Sly Chance.

Armando Costa Neto won the 2014 NCHA Non-Pro Derby on Ms Regret and has been an NCHA Futurity Finalist six times. He placed third in the 2008 NCHA Futurity Amateur Finals.

Michelle Cowan placed fifth in the 2012 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro Ltd. Finals riding Merada Jo, and has been an NCHA Non-Pro Ltd or Amateur Finalist six times.