NCHA Futurity Finals
Mink stole the show
Hall of Fame Rider Gary Bellenfant earned two championships, and a place in the history books with his victory on Metallic Rey Mink in the 2019 Great American Insurance NCHA Futurity presented by the North Texas Chevy Dealers on December 15 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Bellenfant is the oldest rider ever to win an NCHA Triple Crown Open finals, and he also collected the Senior Championship. Along with his NCHA Futurity win on Peptoboonsmal in 1995, he set a record for the longest span between championships in Triple Crown events.
Metallic Rey Mink, by Metallic Cat, was bred and is owned by the historic Los Jaboncillos Ranch, Premont, Tex.
Twice In Santiago, sired by Once In A Blu Boon, and owned and bred by Double Dove Ranch, Fort Worth, Tex., placed as Reserve Champion with 223 points under Adan Banuelos. Hot Whittle Kitty, by Hottish, and Pipe Bomb Dream, by Metallic Cat, tied with 220 points for third, shown by Cookie Banuelos, for Paula Gaughn, Las Vegas, Nev., and Geoffrey Sheehan, for Beechfork Ranch, Weatherford, Tex., respectively.
At 69, Bellenfant is the oldest rider to ever win the NCHA Open Futurity. He is also one of just nine Open riders to have won the 58-year-old event more than once. In 1995, Bellenfant scored 225 points for his first Futurity win, showing Peptoboonsmal , who became an all-time leading sire of earners of over $23 million.
When asked, in a post-Finals interview, which win meant more to him, Bellenfant said, “This one means more because I thought the other one would be the last.”
Bellenfant showed as an NCHA Futurity finalist for the first time in 1978, when he was 28, riding the Doc Bar daughter Docs Linda. Since then, Bellenfant has been a finalist 12 times and a semi-finalist 30 times, including in 2014, when he was a semi-finalist aboard Dual Rey Mink, the dam of Metallic Rey Mink.
Bellenfant’s first major NCHA win came with Gins Solano in the 1985 Breeders Cutting. He’s won the NCHA Super Stakes twice (MNY Peppy Star Rio and Bayou Short in 1989 and 1996), the Super Stakes Classic (Bayou Shorty), and the NCHA Derby (MNY Peppy Star Rio). His 2019 Futurity win puts him over the $3 million mark in NCHA earnings.
Twice In Santiago, shown by Adan Banuelos for her breeder, Double Dove Ranch, is a full sister to Pedel To The Metall LTE $244,270, also shown by Banuelos. Including Pedel To The Metall and Twice In Santiago, who earned $155,020 in the NCHA Futurity Finals, Twice As Reycy, is the dam of seven earners of over $868,000.
This marks the second consecutive NCHA Futurity Open Reserve Championship for Adan Banuelos, who showed Badboonarising LTE $268,398 to place second in 2018. Banuelos, an NCHA Hall of Fame Rider of nearly $3 million, also placed as the 2018 NCHA Derby reserve champion riding Catillac Reys LTE $182,765, owned by Ten 27 Ranch.
Cookie Banuelos, Adan Banuelos’s uncle, tied for third place riding Hot Whittle Kitty, who he also showed to place in the Open Limited Finals. Currently the NCHA earner of over $1 million, as a new face on the cutting scene, Cookie Banuelos won the 2001 NCHA Futurity Open Limited showing Abrakadabracre for his brother Ascencion Banuelos, an NCHA Hall of Fame Rider.
Hot Whittle Kitty, bred by Paula Gaughan, is the second money earner out of the unshown High Brow Cat daughter Smart Whittle Kitty, a half-sister to the earners of over $650,000, including Whittle Red Boon LTE 201,419 and Whittle Mike O Dual LTE $140,057.
Shown by Geoffrey Sheehan and bred by Alvin Fults, Pipe Bomb Dream is a full sister to 2017 NCHA Open Horse of the Year Metallic Rebel LTE $411,837, one of seven $100,000-plus earners sired by Metallic Cat out of $1.4 million producer Sweet Abra, by Abrakadabracre.
Sheehan, the NCHA Open Hall of Fame earner of over $1.5 million, won the 2009 NCHA Futurity Open Limited riding JoJo Boon LTE $159,941, by Peptoboonsmal, for John and Hope Mitchell. In 2015, Sheehan was an NCHA Futurity finalist riding both Hellcatt LTE $83,504, by High Brow Cat, and Cromed Out Cat LTE $242,020, by High Brow Cat, for Beechfork Ranch.
Sheehan also placed tenth in the Open Finals and won the Open Gelding division on Nine Lives Left, owned by Beechfork Ranch.