Sly Criminal, ridden by Tatum Rice. Ted Petit Photo. Ten years ago, Tatum Rice made his debut in NCHA Futurity Open competition riding a Smooth As A Cat daughter for his cousin Tag Rice. Shes Twice As Smooth and Rice scored 220 points in the first go-round and qualified for the Semi-Finals. Although they didn’t make the cut for the Open Finals, they did make the Open Ltd. Finals, where they claimed the reserve championship.

Shes Twice As Smooth would retire three years later with $191,734 earned with Rice and with her non-pro owner, Jennifer Foland. Since that 2009 NCHA Futurity, Tatum Rice has earned over $2.3 million and won 16 major events, including the 2017 NCHA Super Stakes and 2018 NCHA Open World Championship aboard  Hashtags LTE $476,725.

Now, following his championship win aboard Crey Zee in the 2018 NCHA Futurity, Tatum Rice carries the mantle of defending champion into the 2019 event with Sly Criminal, who he showed on Tuesday to win the first day of Open go-rounds competition with 223 points.

Bred by Rocking L Cutting Horses and owned by Barwick/Knight of Weatherford, Texas, Sly Criminal is by Metallic Cat and out of Meradas Sly Cat LTE $82,586, by That Sly Cat. Sly Criminal is on track to be Meradas Sly Cat’s first money earner.

Sugarlesss, ridden by Russ Westfall. Ted Petit photo.

Sugarlesss, shown by his owner and breeder, Russ Westfall, Granbury, Tex., and Tuff Nu Catillac, shown by Matt Miller for her owner and breeder, Blakley Colgrove, Boligee, Ala., tied with 221 points, the second-highest score of the day.

Sired by Kit Kat Sugar, Sugarlesss is out of Little Bit Reckless LTE $231,124, bred and shown by both Russ Westfall and his wife Janet, and is a full sister to 4-year-old Ringo LTE $53,803. Lil Bit Reckless is out of the Westfall mare Trouble Lynn 495, dam of 9 NCHA money earners of $747,768, all sired by Westfall-owned stallion CD Royal.

Tuff Nu Catillac, ridden by Matt Miller. Ted Petit photo.

Sired by Woody Be Tuff, Tuff Nu Catillac is out of Desires Nu Catillac LTE $58,923, by High Brow Cat. The dam of one money earner, 4-year-old Riding In Style, by Bamacat, Desires Nu Catillac, is half-sister to the earners of nearly $1.5 million, including Thundercat LTE $302,762 and Desires Some Rex LTE $287,519.

Sugar Smak, shown by Rodrigo Taboga for Bridget Trenary, Nashville, Tenn., to earn 220.5 points, was the only horse, in addition to Sly Criminal, Sugarlesss, and Tuff Nu Catillac, to score above 220 on Thursday.  The Kit Kat Sugar-sired mare is out of the unshown Smart Mate’s daughter Mates Pretty Special, dam of one NCHA money earner, Special Wild Hair LTE $29,563, by Wild Haired Cat.