Auspicious Cat, ridden by Ed Dufurrena; and Brandon Westfall, riding Gentle Ben, won the Open and Non-Pro finals, respectively, of the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting at the Pacific Coast Derby in Las Vegas on June 12.
It was the second Mercuria win for Auspicious Cat, the NCHA World Champion Stallion that also won at the 2013 Augusta Futurity.
Westfall is the youngest rider ever to win a Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting event.
In the Open, Auspicious Cat marked 230 to win for Dos Cats Partners and earn $7,600. The 9-year-old stallion is by High Brow Cat out of Lenas O Lady, by Peppy San Badger. He was bred by LKC Ranch and has earned more than $240,000.
Smart Stingrey, ridden by Mike Wood for Michelle LeMaster of Las Vegas, placed second with a 226.5, while Cattalou, ridden by Beau Galyean for Curtis Chester of Weatherford, Texas, was third with a 224.5.
In the Non-Pro, Brandon Westfall of Los Olivos, California, won a week before his 14th birthday.
He is the youngest Mercuria NCHA World Series champion to date, ahead of Kelsey Conn, who won at 16 at the 2010 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo; Caleb Anderson, who won at 17 at the 2010 Battle in the Saddle; and Lane Wood, also 17, when she won at the 2013 All American Quarter Horse Congress.
Westfall, whose mother, Janet, is also a World Series winner, rode Gentle Ben to mark 220 to win by one point over Kelsey Conn of Hempstead, Texas, on Boon Tooth.
Gentle Ben was bred by Mark and Eva Gardiner by CD Royal out of PG Selena, by Playgun. The 5-year-old gelding was Non-Pro reserve champion with Janet at last year’s Pacific Coast Stakes, and has won nearly $60,000.
Brandon Westfall earned $8,949 for the win. He also finished second in last year’s Mercuria NCHA World Finals riding Smartest Peanut Yet, and was a finalist in this spring’s Non-Pro Super Stakes on Lulu Snow.