Four Or Five Times has been somewhat of a hard-luck horse, but fortune finally smiled on him and his trainer, Corey Cushing, at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Derby in Paso Robles, Calif. When the dust settled after the preliminary fence work on Friday, Cushing and "Diesel" won one of the titles determined by the preliminary round, the Open Novice Horse Derby Championship. Their composite score of 657 also earned a berth in the Open Derby finals on Sunday, June 17.
The Open Novice Horse Championship came with a buckle from Gist Silversmiths, a C.R. Morrison Trophy and a check for $2,808.
"It's really exciting. We have had high hopes for this horse, but we had bad luck at the Snaffle Bit Futurity last year, and then didn't have a very good show on him at the Stakes," Cushing said. "I wanted to get in the finals on him at one of these major NRCHA events, because he is such a nice horse."
Cushing and Four Or Five Times, owned by Matthews Cutting Horses LLC, turned in a steady stream of above-average scores throughout the preliminaries. They earned a 218.5 in both the herd work and the reined work, and then made an impressive 220 run in the cow work. It was one of the first major shows where everything came together for Four Or Five Times, Cushing said.
"It seemed like there was always something in our way, or one little thing that didn't work out and caused us to miss the finals. It means a lot to win the Novice Horse Derby on him, and then getting to show him again in the finals, because he is one who truly should be there," the Scottsdale, Arizona horseman explained.
Four Or Five Times is sired by One Time Pepto, out of the mare Lovely Lynnie O Lena, a daughter of Doc O'Lena. One Time Pepto's owner, Jeffrey Matthews, purchased Four Or Five Times as a two-year-old and put him in Cushing's reined cow horse program.
Cushing also showed the Open Novice Horse Derby Reserve Champion, PRF Spoonful Of Gold, for owner Cathy Corrigan Frank. The four-year-old stallion is sired by Hes A Peptospoonful, out of the mare Sons Miss Sprat. He worked his way to a 653 composite - 217 in the herd work, 220.5 in the reined work and 215.5 in the cow work - which also advanced him to Sunday's Open Derby finals. The Reserve Championship paid $2,246.40.
Cushing thanked his wife, Kristen, their one-year-old son, Caleb, and his sponsors and customers for their support.
"It's truly a team effort and a win for everyone," he said. "I feel very lucky and very proud to have such great derby horses this year, and such a great group of people behind me."