The 2014 Turnabout Farm Non Pro Futurity at the Tulsa Reining Classic featured $26,000 in added money.
Topping the Non Pro Level 4 division was Jesse Asmussen, who piloted his horse Lil Light Juice to a 220, winning $5,624.
Asmussen has owned the Smart Like Juice stallion since the end of his yearling year. “He was really, really good today. He’s always really quiet and laid back, but still has some spark, so he’s a lot of fun. Today he circled really well. That’s what he loves to do – lope slow – and he’s little anyways so it looks good,” he said. “He stopped good at the show in Minnesota and he stopped better here – he was a lot more free. I can’t really pick his run apart here.”
This is the second year that Asmussen has won the Turnabout Farm Non Pro Futurity, having claimed the title on another Smart Like Juice foal, Southside Juice, in 2013. “I have to give a lot of credit to Gabe Hutchins and Gaetan Gauthier for all their help. They did a tremendous job helping us get ready, and without those guys it wouldn’t have happened,” he said. “I love coming to this facility. I’ve been here since Saturday and it doesn’t feel like I’ve been here that long.” Asmussen is planning to show at the big National Reining Horse Association Futurity, and is contemplating where to compete in the interim.
Jose Vazquez and Juice N Shine finished reserve in the Level 4 as well as in the Prime Time with a 217. The win netted Vazquez, of Markham, Illinois, $3,856 and numerous prizes. Juice N Shine is by Vazquez’s stallion Smart Like Juice.
Sarah Johnson and Sherruff won the Non Pro Level 3 and finished third in the Non Pro Level 4 with a score of 216.5, taking home $5,482. Sherruff, by Boom Shernic out of Ms Ruf Peppy, is owned by Sarah’s parents, Craig and Lyn Johnson of Gainesville, Texas. “We raised her and watched her grow up and get trained, and she’s growing up to be a very nice horse. I’m excited to see how she does at the rest of the big futurities,” she said.
Johnson added that her family has always known the mare was talented. “She’s been a little blue collar worker from the very first ride. Every day she comes out and does her job. I have another futurity horse that I thought was the better of the two – she proved me wrong today!”
When asked about her preparation for Friday’s run, Johnson admitted she had to think a bit on her game plan. “I was a little concerned about the ground – I’m not complaining about it, but it’s just different than what she’s used to at home. She’s been scared of it the last few nights because it’s a little faster,” she explained. “I was going through thinking about how I was going to do my run because I couldn’t run very hard to my stops. I made sure that my circles were great and she turned amazing for me. I just went about three-quarters speed and she stopped really nice. I wish I could have run a little harder, but I’m happy anyways.”
Allison Sutton and Zins Rowdy Whiz and Greg Gottschalk and Benz Smokin finished as Co- Champions of the Non Pro Level 2 and Co-Reserve Champions of the Non Pro Level 3 with scores of 215.5. Each took home $2,444.
Sutton found herself horseless in February after her 3-year-old was injured, so the search for another Futurity prospect began. She found the right one in Whitesboro, Texas. “We bought Fin (Zins Rowdy Whiz) from Pete Kyle. He was a little green at the time but he’s a quick learner and picked up everything. Even though he was a stud when we tried him he was really sweet. He got gelded when I got him home and I fell in love with him quickly,” she explained.
Sutton hadn’t shown Zins Rowdy Whiz, by Topsail Whiz out of Smart Rowdy Lady, at anything but a schooling show prior to the Tulsa Reining Classic. “We got here and I was just trying to have fun and he started stepping up. I had no expectations so I am very happy with him,” she said. The winning duo doesn’t have much time to rest – next up is the High Roller Reining Classic and the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity before the big Futurity in Oklahoma City.
Gottschalk, of Coloma, Wisconsin, also claimed the Non Pro Prime Time title for an additional $545. “I could have done some things different as the pilot today, but she was an absolute blast to show,” he said of the Cromed Out Mercedes mare, out of Dontquestionthischic. “She’s just fun everywhere so I’m very happy with her and I’m glad I get to take her home and show her more in the fall futurities before we go to Oklahoma City.”
Jordan Larson started Benz Smokin, but the mare didn’t make the roster for his top three horses and he needed to find her a new home. He sent her to fellow trainer Joe Schmidt to sell. “We’re quite a ways from Texas so I leaned on my friend Duane Latimer to go to Joe’s place to try her.
“He rode her and when I talked to him he said, ‘Greg, all I can tell you is that if I were looking for a horse for my wife I’d buy him.’ I asked if I needed to ride her and he said he didn’t think so, so I bought her sight-unseen,” he explained. He added, “I thank Jordan for telling us about him. I thank Joe for doing such a good job with her – I left her with him for a few weeks before the Derby. I picked her up at the Derby and took her home.”