Ed Dufurrena came last year to Augusta solely for the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting competition.
After the second running of this event at James Brown Arena, he may never leave.
Aboard Auspicious Cat, Dufurrena marked 222 to win the Mercuria open finals by two points.
“We like the city. We like the venue,” Dufurrena said. “We love the Mercuria program. We’re here to support that.”
Dufurrena, of Gainesville, Texas, earned $7,614 for his first Futurity win. He is a partner in Dos Cats Partners, which owns the 8-year-old stallion by High Brow Cat out of Lenas O Lady.
Adan Banuelos, with Lizzys Gotta Babe, finished second with 220 for $6,612 on his other horse, WhiskeyNADirtyGlass. He also tied for seventh on Lizzys Gotta Babe (215, $1,600). Josh Dozier and Mississippi Cat placed third (217.5, $5,609).
Dufurrena, a 45-year-old trainer, is married to Shona and has two children, Brandon, 27, and Rieta, 19. Brandon is the reigning NCHA Non-Pro world champion, while Rieta claimed the NCHA Youth World Championship.
The Dufurrenas stay busy with about 70 horses on their farm in Texas, with about half that total in training. They brought eight horses to Augusta, and all eight reached the finals.
“It’s been a great week,” Ed Dufurrena said. “We’re very busy.”
In the Mercuria Open finals, Dufurrena took advantage of drawing first in the set. They posted a score threatened only by Banuelos and his horse three runs later.
“Obviously, we all want to be third, fourth or fifth, but I sure would rather have been first the way the cattle have been this week,” Dufurrena said. “It was just easier to keep up with them. It gave me a shot at some of them cows that settled well.”