Starlights Lil Cat, ridden by Monty Buntin for Steven and Stacy Morgan of Lincoln, California, marked 224 to win the $25,000 Novice finals at the NCHA Scottsdale Nationals Friday.
Royal Red Play and Todd Adolf took the reserve championship with a 220.5, while top qualifier Daintys Kual Kitty, ridden by Morgan Cromer, was third at 220.
Starlights Lil Cat is a 7-year-old mare bred by Scott Gaddy by WR This Cats Smart out of Starlights CD. She had earned $70,162 prior to Scottsdale, including a win in last fall’s Utah Classic. She was also a Pacific Coast Futurity finalist as a 3-year-old.
Buntin’s previous biggest championships include the NCHA Super Stakes Limited Open and the Pacific Coast Winter Roundup with High Brow Jackson. He now has NCHA earnings of more than $590,000.
Starlights Lil Cat has also qualified for Saturday’s $5,000 Novice and the Open finals.
Royal Red Play, the $25,000 Novice reserve champion, is owned by Pam and George Shaeffer of Banner Wyoming and ridden by Todd Adolf. The 10-year-old gelding was bred by Double Dove Ranch by Play Red out of $723,000 producer Peek A Boon.
He was NCHA Western Nationals Non-Pro champion in 2014 and $50,000 Amateur champion last year with Pam Shaeffer, and has earned more than $85,000. He has also qualified for tomorrow’s Open finals.
In the Open go-round on Friday, 15 horses marked 213.5 or better to advance to Saturday’s finals. Three of them, Juan Catty Chica, One Red Mist and Scootin Solano, shared the top score of 219, while Some Kinda Highbrow and Starlights Lil Cat were next in line with a 218. Here’s a look at the top qualifiers:
Juan Catty Chica 2010 (Juan Bad Cat x Slip Down Girl), bred by Adam Pollard, owned by Michelle Van Amburg of Gardenville, Nevada, and ridden by Monty Buntin. LTE $56,542.
One Red Mist 2009 (One Time Pepto x Cat Mist), bred by Arcese Quarter Horses, owned by Stephen and Rebecca Drake of Brenham, Texas, and ridden by Mike Wood. LTE $123,209.
Scootin Solano 2007 (Smart Lil Scoot x Boon Glo Solano), bred by Gentry & Running, owned by Dan and Janice Eaton, Peachland, BC, and ridden by Mike Wood. LTE $194,325.
Some Kinda Highbrow 2010 (High Brow CD x Some Kinda Memories), bred by Shrontz Family Partnership, owned by Michelle and Jeff LeMaster of Las Vegas, Nevada, and ridden by Gavin Jordan. LTE $312,692.
Starlights Lil Cat 2010 (WR This Cats Smart x Starlights CD), bred by Scott Gaddy, owned by Steven and Stacy Morgan, Lincoln, California, and ridden by Monty Buntin. LTE $70,162.
Co-champs split $2,000 Ltd Rider win
Eric Ferreira of Lincoln, California, and Jameson Grimes of Templeton, California, both marked 218 to share the championship in the $2,000 Limited Rider class on Friday.
Ferreira, who had been a Limited Open finalist at the Utah Futurity last year, brought NCHA earnings of $2,754 to the show. He rode Rittle Me This in Scottsdale, a 5-year-old gelding bred and owned by Adam and Hollyn Pollard. Rittle Me This is by Riosmysister out of Slip Down Girl. He won the 4-year-old Non-Pro with Adam Pollard at the Utah Futurity last year.
Grimes rode Cyndi Cat, a 10-year-old WR This Cats Smart mare out of Dox Little Cindy, bred by Jerry and Melinda Black and owned by Dr. Gerald Dorros. Grimes has been on a roll in 2017 adding $3,638 to his career earnings this year for a lifetime total of $5,409 prior to Scottsdale.
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