Jason McClure and his old horse made magic late Thursday night, marking 219 to win the Champions Challenge Non-Pro by three points at James Brown Arena.
“He was good tonight,” McClure said. “I felt like he was as good as he could be.”
McClure of Hayesville, N.C., picked up $5,000 for the victory; he won the Classic Non-Pro here last year. Patrick Collins placed second and third, respectively, on Oh Miss Peacock and Oh Miss Carolina for a combined $6,700.
McClure said the victory came at a good time.
“I love it,” McClure said. “I needed the money really bad. There were a lot of great horses in there. I just got lucky to be the best tonight.”
The 28-year-old McClure and his wife, Hali, have a 3-year-old daughter, Micalynn. The McClures, who have their own training operation, raised Tama Boon, an 8-year-old gelding by Dualin Boon out of Playboys Tamalena. Hali McClure and Tama Boon also rode to a fourth-pace finish in the $35,000 Non-Pro Any Age go-round.
“I told my wife the other day he feels like he felt when he was a 3-year-old,” Jason McClure said. “And that’s hard for an 8-year-old.”
McClure added the horse acts more like a 2-year-old outside of the pen. Tama Boon is nicknamed “Clint” after Clint Eastwood, because he can be tough at times. But Hali McClure loves the horse and won’t let her husband sell him.
“I figure I’d get divorced if I sold that horse,” he said. “And those were kind of her exact words – not really.”
With two wins in Augusta in two years, he said he’s starting to figure out the pen.
“The cows aren’t usually the best in the world. The pen is small,” McClure said. “But everybody has to cut in the same pen on the same cows.”