Zen And Tonic, ridden by Lance Cooper. Hart Photography.

2018 Lucas Oil NCHA Super Stakes – April 16, 2018 – Fort Worth, Tex.

First to the herd in his first Open finals, Lance Cooper, 17, took no prisoners with a 223-point win in the Super Stakes Open Limited. Riding Zen And Tonic, by High Brow CD, owned by his parents, Michael and Jennifer Cooper, Weatherford, Tex., and with go-round scores of 216 and 213.5 points, Cooper stepped up to the occasion and was never threatened.

Garrett Hampton, riding Merlott, by Dual Rey, for Jose Sigala, Weatherford, Tex., earned the reserve championship with 217 points, while Greg Wright on Sugarush, by Kit Kat Sugar, for Monte Strusiner, Northbrook, Ill., and Christian Miller on SDP Hy Jane, by Hydrive Cat, for SDP Buffalo Ranch, tied for third and fourth with 216.5 points in the 14-horse finals.

Lance Cooper and Zen And Tonic have been a team since the NCHA Futurity, where they won the Non-Pro Limited championship and placed 11th in the Non-Pro finals. Since then, shown exclusively by Lance, Zen And Tonic has claimed eight more major Non-Pro/Non-Pro Limited titles, in addition to Monday’s Open Limited championship.

Cooper, the NCHA earner of $180,719, cashed his first major event check in 2014, as a 2014 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro finalist (12th) and Futurity Non-Pro Limited finalist on Post Card From Paris, by Light N Lena. But his first shiny buckle came as champion of the 2013 NCHA Summer Spectacular Junior Youth aboard A Little Bossy LTE $403,677, by CD Lights and owned by Gary and Karen Fields.

Merlott, ridden by Garrett Hampton. Hart Photography.

Garrett Hampton, 18, Weatherford, Tex., had earned $36,923 before Monday’s finals on Merlott, who had no NCHA earnings before the finals. Hampton’s biggest previous check came as a 2017 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro semi-finalst on Cattonoogalena, by Catto Boy. In 2016, he won the NCHA Western Nationals Senior Youth riding Ima Little Ichi, by Cat Ichi.

Greg Wright, Piedmont, Okla., showed Sugarush as an NCHA Futurity Open semi-finalist and Open Limited finalist (12th), as well as an Open finalist in the 2018 Bonanza Open Futurity. Wright, the NCHA earner of $789,259, won the 2015 NCHA Super Stakes Open Limited championship on Stars Freckled Girl, by Metallic Cat, and the 2016 Arbuckle Mountain 5/6 Open Limited aboard Ima Hot Model, by Spots Hot. He also placed sixth in the 2018 NCHA Super Stakes Classic Open Limited and the Super Stakes Classic Open with Aristocratic Star, by High Brow Cat, a three-quarter sister to Sugarush.

Christian Miller, the NCHA earner of $111,584, who won the 2008 NCHA Eastern National Junior Youth championship on Bob Acre Ray, by Bob Acre Doc, earned his biggest check as a 2017 NCHA Derby Open semi-finalist and Open Limited finalist riding Daisy Poochanan, sired by Smooth As A Cat and owned by Paul and Julie Hansma. His Super Stakes mount, SDP Hy Jane had earned $56 prior to Monday’s finals.

The NCHA Super Stakes continues through April 22. For daily live action and results go to nchacutting.com/events/triple-crown/superstakes