Early run holds up late

Atop Smoother Than A Cat, Steve Oehlhof had 223 to win the Classic Open finals by two points over Austin Shepard on Bet Hesa Cat and Brad Mitchell on Cat A Rey.

It took a late-night appearance for Smoother Than A Cat to notch his first significant win.

Shortly after midnight, Steve Oehlhof and his mount posted a score of 223. When the dust settled at 2:16 a.m. Saturday, they finally had their victory.

Oehlhof and Smoother Than A Cat rung up their run early in the Classic Open finals and held on for a two-point win at James Brown Arena.

Steve Oehlhof, of Grandview, Texas, won his first Augusta Futurity title and a check for $11,291. Austin Shepard and Bet Hesa Cat marked 221, tying with Brad Mitchell and Cat A Rey. Shepard and Mitchell each collected $10,193.

Oehlhof rode third in the 23-horse competition. He waited to watch it play out.

Before Oehlhof and his horse entered the pen, he wondered about the cows.

“We didn’t know how the cattle were going to be,” Oehlhof said. “Settling, they were a little bit tight.

“The horse was really, really smart.”

The 35-year-old Oehlhof, who along with wife Missy has four children, received the horse from owner Jerry Bailey at the end of 2011.

“He just said he was looking to make a change and I was at the top of his list,” Oehlhof said. “He brought me the horse to see if I liked him, to see if I was going to fit with him.”

The two got along like fast friends. Smoother Than A Cat is a 6-year-old sorrel stallion by Smooth As A Cat out of Smart Polka Doc. Smoother Than A Cat is the leading money-earning stallion by Smooth As A Cat.

“I got him and just kind of clicked with him,” Oehlhof said. “I think he’s a really good little horse. He’s a really good moving horse. He’s a little bitty horse, but he uses his front end better than what most horses can. And for a little horse, he’s really strong.”

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