One Alley Cat, shown by Cullen Chartier, scored 223 points to win the championship of the 2018 Abilene Spectacular on Saturday, January 6, in Abilene, Tex. Three horses scored 220 points to tie for second through fourth: Catarism RG, under Michael Cooper, who won the 2017 4-Year-Old Open with Cattys Hope; Dontt Happen Twice, shown by Phil Rapp; and Dual Prime Time, with Tate Bennett.
One Alley Cat, sired by High Brow Cat and owned by Tom and Hillary Watson, Overton, Kan., earned $31,000 for his win and an additional $4,848, from the 4-Year-Old Open Novice division. Catarism RG, sired by Metallic Cat and owned by Rose Valley Ranch; Dontt Happen Twice, sired by Woody Be Tuff and owned by Waco Bend Ranch; and Dual Prime Time, sired by Dual Rey and owned by Bennett, each earned $15,000 in the Open Finals, and $4,040 in the 4-Year-Old Open Novice division.
The top four Abilene Spectacular paychecks represent the first money earned by the four horses. Of the top 10 finalists, only three had previous earnings. Duramax Dually, tied with 219 points for 5/6, under Wesley Galyean, was an NCHA Open Semi-Finalist with $9,392; Mamas Sugar Kat, tied with 218.5 points for 7/8 under Kobie Wood, earned $10,478 with Glen Nelson, as fifth placed finalist in the NCHA Futurity Unlimited Amateur; and Little Jo Cat, also tied for 7/8, came into the Abilene Spectacular with $88,288 earned as NCHA Futurity Limited Open Champion, Open finalist, and Open Gelding finalist under Ornelas, as well as Non-Pro Gelding Champion and Non-Pro finalist with owner Steve Anderson.
Ornelas and Tate Bennett are the only riders to have won both the NCHA Futurity Limited Open and Abilene Spectacular 4-Year-Old Limited Open championships. Bennet won the 2012 NCHA Futurity Limited Open and 2013 Abilene Spectacular Limited Open on his own horse Rios Jewel.
With current earnings of $101,016, including Abilene Spectacular money, Little Jo Cat, by High Brow Cat, ranks among 2018’s Top Ten 4-year old money earners.
2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the Abilene Spectacular, which has taken its place as the first major limited age event on the cutting calendar. The first Abilene Spectacular 4-Year-Old Open championship was won by Bobs Smokin Joe and John Tolbert, also winners of the 1993 NCHA Open Futurity. Since then, only four other horses have won both the NCHA Open Futurity and the Abilene Spectacular 4-Year-Old Open: Shania Cee 1999/2000 with Shannon Hall; Chiquita Pistol 2002/2003 with Tag Rice; Metallic Cat 2008/2009 with Beau Galyean; and Dual Smart Kitty 2013/2014 with Clay Johnson.
See complete 2018 Abilene Spectacular results here.