On Saturday, May 26, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the draw sheets revealed an incredibly competitive 22-horse field set to compete in the Breeder’s Invitational (BI) Derby Open finals. The 4-year-old open horses had already broken a show record, so cutting fans expected quite a show. They got it!
When the seventh horse-and-rider team out in the first set marked a 223, the crowd erupted in applause. The next duo left the arena with an equally impressive 223 on the screen overhead, and the excitement in the Tulsa Expo Center seemed deafening.
Hottish’s sons Dual Reyish, guided by Austin Shepard, and Cool N Hot, ridden by Sean Flynn, were tied for the lead! The remaining 14 competitors tried in vain to match their opponents – leaving no other option.
“Keep the cows in the arena, while the judges review their scores,” Tom Holt announced. Anticipation hummed while horsemen and the audience waited for the verdict. “Austin Shepard and Sean Flynn, please return to the arena for a work-off!”
Less than 10 minutes later, Dual Reyish (out of A Little Reylena x Dual Rey) and Shepard were named the Derby Open Champions. Equi-Stat Elite $7 Million Rider Shepard, of Summerdale, Alabama, also piloted the Greg Smith-bred Dual Reyish in December, when he was named Champion of the 2017 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open.
The team brought home $68,107 for owner Billy Wolf, of Whitesboro, Texas, pushing the chestnut stallion’s Equi-Stat record well past the $300,000 milestone.
Quarter Horse News
by Katie Marchetti
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