Top names earn top dollar at the Equinety Kinder Cup Barrel Racing Championships in Kinder, Louisiana, on Feb. 11-13.
When the dust had settled at the Coushatta Casino Resort arena in Kinder, Louisiana, on Sunday, Feb. 13, a combined $664,187 had been paid out for the Kinder Cup event, including Breeder’s Challenge incentive money. Entries processed through the course of the event totaled an impressive 4,496.
Many competitors had the chance to get a piece of the pie, but a few took heftier slices than others at the event thanks to the numerous incentives, event sidepots, and special awards donated by sponsors that Good Times Barrel Racing productions aligned with for the event.
Ashley Schafer and Born on Derby Day
Schafer meant business at Kinder Cup. The Comanche, Texas, resident raked in over $46,000 on the four futurity horses she brought. On two runs alone in the $20,000-added Equinety 2D Futurity, Schafer and Born On Derby Day, “Derby,” raked in $37,141.
Derby is a mare that is incredibly special to Schafer. Her sire, Freckles Ta Fame, known as “Can Man,” was the first horse that Schafer made it big on when she launched her own training program.
“When I first moved to Wyoming I was working as a massage therapist. Joe Spitz called and asked me to take some futurity horses,” Schafer said. “I ran Can Man from July to December of his futurity year. He was so nice. He won about $27,000 and was a door opener for me. That was in 2013, and in 2015 I ran KR Last Fling, Derby’s mom, for Joe and Carla [Spitz], and she was such a blessing to our program.”
Schafer couldn’t pass up the opportunity to purchase an embryo from the cross, and on the day that the Kentucky Derby ran in 2017, Derby was born.
“She has exceeded our expectations. Not that we didn’t know she would be great—with those parents she should be—sometimes it doesn’t work out. She sure hasn’t disappointed,” Schafer said.
The first round wasn’t Schafer’s concern, as Derby usually works her best on her first trip. Schafer turned in a smooth 14.697-second run to finish second in the round behind VF Quick Release and James Barnes’ 14.662. However, Schafer, a seasoned veteran in the futurity sphere, found herself anxious over her second run.
“Going into the second round I was so nervous that I couldn’t feel my hands,” Schafer said.
Schafer overcame her nerves in the second round to turn in a 14.700-second run, earning not only a second-place finish in the round, worth another $3,389.00, but also the aggregate championship, and $5,422 with her combined time of 29.397 seconds.
Barnes and Cameron Tankersley’s VF Quick Release finished second in the Kinder Cup aggregate to earn $4,518 with a total on two runs of 29.595 seconds. Combined futurity, Breeders Challenge and Open earnings for the 2018 gelding sired by Eddie Stinson and out of Wheely Quick by The Harder They Fall totaled $18,535.
Kortney Kizer and Coronaslucky Twonite
Kortney Kizer and Coronaslucky Twonite, a 2017 mare by JL Dash Ta Heaven and out of Corona Four Fiesta by Corona Cartel, turned in the fastest time of the futurity with a 14.660-second run in round one, which earned them $4,067 for the round win, as well as the Slot Race title for the event, valued at $17,000.
The slot race placings were determined by each competitor who entered the sidepot’s fastest time over both rounds of competition, while their slower time was dropped. This was Kizer’s first slot race championship, and she found herself riding on cloud nine with her mare the entire weekend.
“I know on her if I make a smooth run, she is likely to win something,” said Kizer, who raked in a total of $29,863 over the weekend. “After my run, I was overwhelmed with pride and joy for my horse. She’s very special and I’m blessed to ride her. I’d also never won a slot race, so it was very exciting for me!”
Kizer purchased Coronaslucky Twonite through the Jud Little Dispersal Sale in 2020. The mare has proven to be a challenge outside the arena but has been a dream for Kizer to compete on.
“She can be rather difficult. She kicks horribly in her stall, at the trailer, and is even worse to haul. When it comes to running barrels, she takes it very seriously and that’s all I can ask for. Her and I work well together,” Kizer said. “Great horses don’t come around often, so I’m truly blessed to have her.”
Kizer added that she would like to thank Auburn Labs, MVP, Aquaterra Equine, Stierwalt Superflex, and her husband for their support.
Kyle Leleux and Dollys StreakNBadger
Although it was Brittany Pozzi-Tonozzi and Rock On Guys who captured the Kinder Cup Derby Championship and a combined $16,894 for the week, Kyle Leleux and Dollys StreakNBadger, known as “Bentley,” stole the show by earning $25,104 quietly throughout the weekend. Bentley not only clocked the fastest of any stallion in attendance, but also earned more throughout the weekend. The duo finished second in the Kinder Cup Derby, earning $3,514, most notably, and placed in both rounds of The Breeder’s Challenge Derby. A combination of Open 4D and sidepot placings comprised the rest of the stallion’s earnings.
After winning the OKC Fiver Futurity in December, Bentley was given two months to relax in the pasture.
“Last year was a lot of miles, and a lot of runs. He worked hard and we thought that he deserved a break.”
It appeared that Bentley was appreciative of the break and ran quick, consistent times throughout the Kinder Cup. Leleux noted that having a laid-back stallion like Bentley makes it easy to haul to and stall at the races. The stallion never has mares on his mind at events, but instead dials in on winning.
“Bentley can be on the lazy side at home, but at the barrel races he is more serious and focused. It’s like he knows when we pull in that we’re here to work, and playtime is over,” Leleux said. “He was born to run barrels and loves it.”
All of the winning riders interviewed had high praise for the Equinety Kinder Cup Barrel Racing Championships and Good Times Barrel Racing. Organized by Jim and Stacy Warner in partnership with Andre’ and Ryan Dohrn, the event offered great ground, impressive payouts, and partnerships that benefitted the contestants. The competitors also extended gratitude to the Breeder’s Challenge for working with the event to produce generous payouts.
“It’s so fun with all the incentives, I mean it’s life-changing money for people. It’s completely changed our industry in the last few years, I’m just so grateful,” Schafer said.
Leleux added, “The ground was excellent at the Kinder Cup and the producers put on a first-class event. I was shocked at the payout this year, with the Kinder Cup and Breeder’s Challenge combined.”
For full Kinder Cup Barrel Racing Championships results, visit www.kinderbarrelrace.com.