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Primed in Paso

Gorrell and 'Gadget' take Bridle Spectacular, as NRCHA Derby draws out the best

From releases and staff reports - July 7th, 2016 - Cover Story, Show & Event News

1607A_coverwpPASO ROBLES — After getting close the last few years to the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s wealthiest bridle contest, Jake Gorrell and his longtime partner, Smooth N Cash, just plain took it.

The Hanford-based Gorrell and Roloff Ranch’s gritty 2005 gelding topped the field of 14 elite equines to win the CD Survivor Memorial Bridle Spectacular. Held in conjunction with the NRCHA Derby June 13-19 at the Mid-state Fairgrounds, the CD Survivor Memorial is a $50,000-added contest named in honor of the late, great stallion owned by NRCHA sponsor Holy Cow Performance Horses.

It was the first time for Gorrell and the little sorrel he calls “Gadget” to win this particular coveted title, although they have come close before.

“It’s awesome. It’s nice to put it all together, finally. Last year I fell down [in the fence work], the year before I had a switch [penalty in the herd work], came back and marked a 232 [down the fence] and almost got a check, but this was the first time for me to win it,” Gorrell said. “We worked hard at it. We worked and worked and it finally paid off.”

What does it take to get over a hump for a top trainer like Gorrell on a top horse like Smooth N Cash (Smooth As A Cat x Dox Gavacash x Miss N Cash)?

“That’s a really good question, and you could almost write a book on it,” he said. “It’s hard to explain. I got a good horse. I’m not going to say he’s the very best — I dont know — but in my mind, I do think he is. He’s just exceptional. And there’s just certain things that you reflect on about your runs. Why is this not working? What happens? What’s the deal? What’s going on? Sometimes you can attribute it to bad luck, or luck of the draw, or luck of the cow — whatever. But some of the time, you have to accept some of the responsibility, and you’re like, ‘what the hell am I missing’?”

He said he has been focusing lately on balance.

“The physical balance on the horse and mental balance of the horse, as well as my mental balance and keeping things contained,” he said. “Trying to get to the few little things that may be keeping me making little mistakes. Just trying to put it together.”

He says that at this level, there is no room at all for any mistakes.

“None. I sure with they’d ease up so I could get more checks,” he smiled.

The CD Survivor Memorial Bridle Spectacular paycheck elevates Smooth N Cash’s NRCHA earnings right to the $230,000 mark. They also took home a Gist buckle, a CR Morrison Trophy, product from Platinum Performance and San Juan Ranch/Santa Cruz Animal Health, and they will have their names inscribed on the perpetual CD Survivor Memorial Trophy.

The big 226 fence work by Gorrell and Smooth N Cash was goosebump-inducing, but it wasn’t the highest fence score of the night. That particular honor belonged to the CD Survivor Memorial Bridle Spectacular Reserve Champion, High Brow Shiner (Shining Lil Nic x High Brow Meow x High Brow Cat), a 2009 stallion shown by NRCHA Million Dollar Rider Doug Williamson for owner Belle Meade Ranch.
The pair scored a 228 down the fence, an exceptional wrap-up to their other performances, a 216 in the herd work and 218 in the rein work. The 662 composite came with a $18,625 paycheck.

“That’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on!” Williamson said, laughing, after the tremendous run on the fancy palomino he calls a natural at the fence work.

“That horse is such an amazing fence horse. He just loves his job, and I go along for the ride,” the NRCHA Hall of Fame horseman and two-time Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion said. “A great bridle horse has to have heart. That horse has so much grit, so much heart. I’ve showed his wheels off, every time I go someplace, and he’s quiet. If a cow attacks him, he says, ‘No way can you beat me.’ He just has it in him. He’s such a great horse.”

A full slate of classes filled the NRCHA Derby week, including up-and-coming youth and non-pro riders who made the haul to the Central Coast.

Temecula-based trainer Brenda Brown took seven from her barn, and they enjoyed success to accompany the experience of a larger event away from home.

“It’s fun for people to have an opportunity to go to a venue away from home, even though the shows here in Temecula are big and quite competitive,” said Brown. “You probably are showing against a lot of the same poeple, but since you’re away and in a different venue, it just seems bigger and more exciting. It automatiacally makes it feel like a higher level of competition.”

Brown’s pupil Elizabeth Kretz rode her Gypsy Chic to the 1000K Non Pro Limited Championship, earning her first NRCHA bronze trophy. Barnmate Michelle Nicolaides rode Ze Sweet to third place in the same class, her highest finish. In the NRCHA Youth Limited, Maggie Cincotta showed her Chics Got Guns to the championship.

More online: Http://bit.ly/1607A_NRCHA

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