In only an hour, Glade Knight pulled off his first two Augusta Futurity championships.
Knight scored a 216 on Bobs Smart Chance to win the $50,000 Amateur 5/6-year-old finals by 2.5 points over Josh Hopkins. Soon afterward, Knight rung up a 217 on Reys Starlight to win the $50,000 Amateur 4-year-old finals by one point over Tom Warriner.
His wins Friday afternoon totaled more than $10,000. He got a first-place check of $6,119 out of a purse of $30,593 in the Amateur 5/6-year-old competition. In the Amateur 4-year-old event, he won $4,812 of the $24,060 purse.
"This is just tremendous satisfaction," he said. "... It's a great feeling. It's a great reward. But it has to be kept in perspective. It's certainly not the greatest thing in life, but it is in cutting. It's the ultimate. It's a great feeling."
The 56-year-old Knight is the president and corporate executive officer of a publicly traded New York Stock Exchange company dealing with apartment complexes. Last year, he finished second in the $50,000 Amateur 4-year-old finals after losing a workoff to H.B. Bartlett.
The rider from Richmond, Va., vindicated that loss on Reys Starlight, a mare by Grays Starlight out of Miss Smart Rey Jay. Warriner, who scored a 198 on the same horse and missed the Futurity Non-Pro finals by 1.5 points, posted his score on the seventh run of 12 riders. Then Knight leapfrogged him on the next-to-last run.
"I was very, very relaxed because I had already won," said Knight, who's in his third year at the Augusta Futurity. "I knew I had the horsepower. But I couldn't anticipate coming out on the tail end and having a run like this."
He had a little easier time in the $50,000 Amateur 5/6-year-old finals. Knight rode third among the 13 riders and set the tone early on Bobs Smart Chance, a 6-year-old mare by Bob Acre Doc out of Dox Smart Chance.
"She's a great mare," he said. "She's very solid. We were very fortunate we drew early. The cattle here in the later parts are not very good. We picked our cattle, and things kind of came together for us down there. We had our choice of the cattle, and we got the cattle we wanted."
The cattle ran wild, especially late in the competition. Four of the last five horses, including Knight's second horse, Playdox, lost a cow.
"These cattle have been grain fed and pasture fed, and handled by hand a great deal," he said. "After you've ridden into them four or five times, they're just too friendly, and they want to come back over the top of you. That's pretty much the way they've been the whole show.
"But the cattle are good. They've been fair for everyone."
Sixteen-year-old Hopkins, on Sweet Pepper Sauce, placed second in the Amateur 5/6-year-old finals with a score of 213.5. The 10th-grader from Batesville, Ark., said he was pleased to finish as reserve champion.
"It didn't work quite as easy as we thought it would," Hopkins said. "The cows are quite bad, though. When I went in there fifth, there weren't any cows left."