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Annies Smart Cat and Johnston win Open Bridle Spectacular


Annies Smart Cat and Johnston win Open Bridle Spectacular

By March 31, 2023April 10th, 2023No Comments

Annies Smart Cat continued to add to his lifetime earnings with a victory in the Open Bridle Spectacular at the 2023 Teton Ridge Stallion Stakes in Las Vegas. The win also qualified NRCHA Million Dollar Rider Lance Johnston for the Run for a Million.

Annies Smart Cat marked a 219 in the herd work and a 216.5 in the reined work.

“I cut him good cows in the in the herd work,” Johnston said. “If I cut him good cows, he is usually pretty good, really good. He’s always really stylish in the herd. In the reined work, we actually had a few little bobbles that weren’t quite what he normally is, but we scored enough to keep us in the ballgame to get to the fence work.”

They were last in the first set in the fence work.

“In the fence work, he was phenomenal and the cow was really tough and really wild,” Johnston said. “He was with me every step of the way.”

They marked a 224, which put them in the lead.

“There were so many big-time horses left to go that I really didn’t think the score would hold,” Johnston said. “I was happy that I did as good as I did, but I didn’t think it would hold. So I was pretty excited at the very end when I found out it did hold and then even more excited when I found out that I made the Run for the Million.”

Annies Smart Cat is a 2016 chestnut stallion by WR This Cats Smart and out of Shiney Nu Annie by Shining Spark. Annies Smart Cat was bred by Wagonhound Land & Livestock and is owned by Rocking BS Ranch, owned by Brent and Suzy Steward.

“I actually bought him for a client at the beginning of his 3-year-old year from Matt Koch,” Johnston said. “Matt had started him and trained him. Long story short, I got him bought for my client to ride.”

The stallion and the client didn’t mesh, so Johnston talked the Stewards into buying the horse.

“I talked to Brent from Rocking BS, and I told him, ‘You need to buy this horse. This horse is a great horse.’ And I said, ‘If I don’t win $100,000 in a year and a half, we’ll send him to somebody that will.’ That’s how much I believe in the horse.

“At this last World Show, when I won the bridle world championship, that put us over $100,000.”

The Stallion Stakes check for first place will add $11,720 to the stallion’s lifetime earnings of $103,740.

The competition was tight. Annies Smart Cat’s composite score of 659.5 was just a point higher than the 658.5 scored by Sprinkld Confetticat (WR This Cats Smart x PPH Especial Nitro), ridden by Shane Steffen and by Kreyzy Horse (Dual Rey x Shes Twice As Smooth) shown by Kelby Phillips.

Johnston and his wife, Tammy, operate Johnston Performance Horses in Lindsay, California. Johnston has $1.3 million in lifetime earnings. He won the 2019 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open and Intermediate Open with Here Comes The Boon (Once In A Blue Boon x Stay Outta My Shorts).

Annies Smart Cat was the 2021 NRCHA Hackamore Classic Open Champion, the 2020 NRCHA Hackamore Classic Novice Horse Open Champion and the 2020 NRCHA Open Hackamore Horse of the Year. He is the reigning world champion bridle horse.

Johston hasn’t decided yet which horse he will take to the Run for a Million.

“It’ll either be ‘Wilbur’ or Here Comes The Boon, and it’ll probably depend on who’s feeling better in August,” Johnston said. “They’re both so great, and they’ve been so good to me.”