The Fort Morgan, Colo., cutter left the arena near midnight Tuesday night. Then, he planned to awake about 5 a.m. to help his wife, Christina, get her horses ready for today’s Futurity Non-Pro event.
“We get used to that going to a cutting,” Cox said. “It’s not anything new.”
Cox and Intention Del Rey posted a score of 223.5 late Tuesday night to win the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting Open go-round. The top 11 horses with scores of 219 or better advanced to Thursday’s finals.
Cox missed last year’s Augusta Futurity for the first time in a long time because of the poor economy. The father of three children – 18-year-old son, Scout, and daughters, Allie, 13, and 20-month-old, Leighton – Cox returned this year because of the Mercuria event and the stallion incentive program.
He found success with Intention Del Rey, a 7-year-old gelding by TR Dual Rey out of Ethylena. Cox has been training the horse for two years and said he’s quite a character.
“He’s a funny-minded little thing,” Cox said. “But he’s real cowy and he stops good and he’s real quick – all the things you want in a cutting horse.”
All-time Augusta Futurity champion Phil Rapp is competing this year in Augusta in just the Mercuria. Rapp, who is recovering from surgery in October to repair a herniated disc in his lower back, posted scores of 220.5 on Dont Look Twice and 216.5 on Lahaina Lena.
“The pain was just absolutely horrible,” Rapp said. “The last three weeks, my back has really gotten better.”
Rapp is showing Dont Look Twice in hopes this year of making her the all-time leading money-earning mare. Rapp said she needs about $60,000.