- Created on Friday, 24 August 2012
- Written by Mark Thompson
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Competing first and eighth in the 12-horse finals that started around 8:30 a.m. Las Vegas time, Burch, 61, Weatherford, Texas, rolled the dice twice by picking challenging steers and working them for a long time with both of her 2007 mares.
Louellas Cat (High Brow Cat x Louella Again x Dual Pep) made Burch’s initial bet pay off with a $12,000 check by holding the pair’s third cow at least 30 seconds. The mare, a prior winner of $136,195 and the NCHA’s No. 2 any-age Open cutter so far this year, earned her first limited-age victory. She had topped an any-age event a few days earlier.
Smoothee (Smooth As A Cat x Autumn Boon x Dual Pep), who grabbed headlines as a young prospect by selling for $200,000, had only picked up $14,844 in career cutting money before visiting Las Vegas. She won an any-age event earlier in the same arena then finished second during the Derby Open to earn a career-best $9,000 check.
Burch is a frequent limited-age finalist who also nearly always has horses among the any-age Open leaders. She secured her first limited-age victory in a couple of seasons while competing at the South Point Equestrian Center for the first time in a few years.
“Your stars really have to set right for anybody to win,” Burch said. “When it happens, you really have to savor and enjoy that, because it’s not easy. I’m really happy. It’s a big deal to win, no matter where it is.”
Louellas Cat and Burch dominated the Derby Open, winning all three rounds with 219.5, 220.5 and 220 scores. Ranked as the NCHA’s No.2 any-age Open money earner at this point in the season, the mare won an any-age Open event in Las Vegas, too, but appeared a little bit sore earlier this week. Burch credited chiropractor Dr. Michelle Stober and Lacy Wilson, a woman who helps her take care of horses on the road, with keeping ‘Lou’ on track and feeling good enough to finish up her outstanding show with the big win.
“Lacy, who works for me out here, has just done an outstanding job icing her feet,” Burch said. “It’s the maintenance of helping that mare feel good, so she can perform her best. She has to do double the work, because I show her in the 5/6 and then I show her in the Opens as well.”
Competing more often with the horses who finished first and second for her in the Classic Open has helped both compete consistently better this year, the trainer said, adding she was certainly pleased with the way Louellas Cat picked up her first limited-age win.
“We stayed on that last cow a long time. I was aggressive with my first and second cuts. You really have to come to them [steers used at the South Point event, opposed to heifers used in Fort Worth],” Burch said. “I think we had 30 some seconds on that last steer. It made our run, I’m sure. Obviously, the judges paid me for having that kind of courage and putting my hand down like that. If I didn’t have the confidence in her, I couldn’t do that. It was the finals.”
While hitting the cutting trail hard this year at age 61, Burch said she feels like she’s well-armed with good horses and she’s not slowing down at all. “I know I am training and showing as good as I ever have. I’m going to stay with it as long as I’m competitive.”