Originally created 01/23/04

Rice cooks for new mark



Move over Pete Branch. There's another cowboy on top of the Augusta Futurity scoring list.

In the 2003 Augusta Futurity, Tag Rice and Chiquita Pistol marked a 230.5 in the Open finals to set the record for best run in the show's 24-year history. The two trumped Branch's mark of 227 set on Little Badger Dulce in the 1995 Classic Open.

Five judges rank runs on a scale between 60 and 80 points with half-points being allowed. The final score is reached by dropping the high and low scores and adding the remaining three scores. The highest possible score is 240.

Judges gave Rice scores of 78, 78, 77, 75.5, 74 - with a 78 and 74 dropped.

Lindy Burch and Play Peek A Boon tied Branch's mark in the 2003 Futurity Open finals before Rice and Chiquita Pistol trumped everyone. Despite losing the Open finals, Burch now holds the record for best score by a woman in Augusta Futurity history.

With his amazing run, Rice now has family bragging rights. Ronnie Rice, Tag's father, scored a 226.5 on Hickory's Farmer in the semifinals of the 1999 America's Greatest Cowboy contest.

There have been five scores higher than 225 during the futurity's history, including a 225.5 by Branch in 1994. Last year, judges recorded 24 scores of 220 or better, including Matt Gaines' 225 in the first round of the Classic Open.

There have also been nine scores of 225. Before Gaines recorded a 225 last year, Phil Rapp was the last to do so in 1999 in the one-time-only Non-Pro Parade of Champions event.