Bama Jelly, with Austin Shepard, and Hiss N Vinegar, under Geoffrey Sheehan, tied with 224 points in a star-studded field of 53 Open five and six-year-olds vying, on Tuesday, February 23, to qualify for the Arbuckle Mountain Classic Open Finals in Ardmore, Okla. Fifteen horses with scores of 220.5 points made the cut.

Six-year-old Bama Jelly LTE $218,524, by Bamacat, bred and owned by Madalyn Colgrove, Boligee, Ala., was the 2019 Arbuckle Mountain 4-Year-Old Open champion under Austin Shepard, who won the 2020 Open championship with Kinky Bootz LTE $78,331, owned by Glenn and Debbie Drake, Napa, Calif. On Tuesday, Shepard scored 222 points to also qualify for the 2021 Arbuckle Mountain 5/6 Finals riding the Drakes’ 5-year-old Dual Rey son.

Bama Jelly and Shepard, the NCHA Hall of Fame earner of $8.6 million, came to Ardmore off of a reserve championship finish in the 2021 Ike Hamilton 5/6 Classic. In 2020, Shepard and Madalyn Colgrove showed Bama Jelly to claim the Open and Non-Pro 5/6 championships of the Southern Futurity.

Six-year-old Dual Smart Rey daughter Hiss N Vinegar LTE $195,462, winner of the 2019 NCHA Super Stakes Open championship, is owned by her breeders, Jeff and Jennifer Foland, Weatherford, Tex. Her dam, Hissy Cat LTE $307,099, by High Brow Cat, was an NCHA Futurity, Super Stakes and Derby Open finalist under Darren Simpkins, and as an Amateur and Non-Pro finalist, including as 2008 NCHA Classic Challenge Amateur champion, for Jennifer Foland.

Hissy Cat is the dam of earners of over $1.2 million, including Hiss N Vinegar’s three-quarter brother Johnny Reyngo LTE $199,470, by Dual Rey.

In addition to Hiss N Vinegar, Geoffrey Sheehan, the NCHA Hall of Fame earner of $1.6 million, also qualified for the Arbuckle 5/6 finals with 223.5 points, aboard Nine Lives Left LTE $63,258, a 5-year-old High Brow Cat gelding bred by Beechfork Ranch, Weatherford, Tex., and owned by Mandy Chisum, Atascade, Calif.

Sheehan showed Nine Lives Left to place tenth and win the Gelding division in the 2019 NCHA Futurity. The two were also 2020 finalists in the Ike Hamilton Futurity and the Brazos Bash.

The Arbuckle Mountain Futurity continues through Sunday, February 28.