When Phil Rapp walked into Luigi’s upon his arrival last week in Augusta, Tony Bennett’s I Left My Heart in San Francisco played through the speakers.
For the California native, the song proved to be a good omen.
The all-time winningest cutter in Augusta Futurity history competed in just one event because of his ongoing recovery from back surgery. That single competition was all he needed to give an added spark to the 33rd edition of the Augusta Futurity.
The show almost doubled its entries from the previous year thanks to two things: the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting event and the stallion incentive. The additional entries made for long nights; four of the final five days ran past midnight.
Rapp and Dont Look Twice flew out of Augusta on Thursday night with another title and a new record. The pair marked 231 in the Mercuria Open finals, eclipsing the previous show record of 230.5 set by Tag Rice and Chiquita Pistol in 2003.
“I’ve just been so fortunate here,” Rapp said. “I guess I’ve gotten used to coming to Augusta over 22 years and I know what to expect.”
Kaitlyn Larsen, of Weatherford, Texas, and Laredo Montana marked 224 to win the Mercuria Non-Pro.
Craig Thompson won his second major event in two months. The Buffalo, Texas, competitor won the NCHA World Championship Futurity on Oh Miss Caroline. He followed by winning the Augusta Futurity Open finals on Oh Cay Do Over.
Isidro Sigala, a Venezuela native, won the Futurity Non-Pro finals on Sigala Rey.
Steve Oehlhof and Smoother Than A Cat won the Classic Open finals. Dianna Helm and Aristo Jazz and Patrick Collins and Oh Miss Peacock tied for the Classic Non-Pro title.
Chisholm Clark won his second title in Augusta in two years. The 16-year-old, who won the Area 18 Youth Scholarship finals in 2011 on Swinging Til Five, claimed the $50,000 Amateur Any Age on the same horse.
Kenneth Love won the $100,000 Amateur for 4-Year-Olds final aboard Low Down Catt, claiming almost $2,000. Because of the stallion incentive, he added another check of more than $8,600.
Other first-time Augusta winners included: Lisa Taylor and Torino Ichi ($100,000 Amateur for 5/6-Year-Olds), Jay Klamon and Somebody Somewhere ($35,000 Non-Pro Any Age).