Originally created 01/29/97

Futurity notebook - look for champions vs. champions next year



Look for a new, champions vs. champions event in next year's Augusta Futurity.

Augusta Futurity show manager Pete May hopes to introduce what will be called "The Parade of Champions" at the 1998 show.

"All our former champions would be eligible," May said.

In the one-ride competition, horses of any age could be ridden by the former champions. That would bring back many great horses who are too old for the aged events (through age 6) now.

"We considered having it (the Parade of Champions) this year and we're probably going to add it in the future," May said. "If we get a sponsor for it, we're planning on having it next year."

The Parade of Champions would be held early Wednesday evening of Futurity Week. Normally, competition runs until approximately 6 p.m. that day with the Augusta Futurity party at the Radisson Riverfront Hotel beginning at 8 p.m.

"The Parade of Champions would last about an hour and then everybody could go to the party," May said.

Jody Galyean of Ardmore, Okla., a two-time Futurity Open champion in this show, called the Parade of Champions concept "fabulous. Any special event like that to highlight the show would be fantastic. I think you'd pack the place and the crowd would be awesome."

NOT SO EASY: Janet Canter of Lumberton, N.C., made it look easy when she won the $20,000 Amateur title earlier on Saturday, marking a 218. It was anything but that for Canter less than three years ago when she first started riding Lena Princess, the horse that carried her to victory.

"We were looking for a good first cutting horse for me, something easy for me to ride," Canter said. "The first two or three times, I got off her crying and told my husband to sell her because I was scared to ride her. She was a little too much horse for me when we first bought her. Now it's all come together. As long as I sit there and get the cows cut, she takes care of the rest."

STAR RISING: Young Steve Warnell, winner of the 1996 $50,000 Amateur, is getting better and better. The 15-year-old from Ellabell, Ga., will be one of the favorites in the $50,000 Amateur on Friday.

"I feel like I can sit down on my horse better when the horse turns," Warnell said. "I don't flop around like I used to."

Warnell has already made his presence felt in this year's Augusta Futurity. On Saturday's first day of the show, he placed two horses in the $20,000 Amateur finals, finishing third and 13th. He also was fifth in the Area 18 Youth Scholarship Championship. It was a busy day for Warnell. Counting his two first go-round rides in the $20,000 Amateur, he rode five times that day.

In Friday's $50,000 Amateur, Warnell will be riding two horses, including Haidas Golden Girl, the mare that carried him to victory in the class last year. The other horse is Haidas Tumbleweed. Both are owned by Steve's father Brooks Warnell.

"I feel good because I know I'm on two good horses," Steve Warnell said.