A Homebred Wins the Non-Pro NCHA Futurity

Armando Costa Neto wins the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity non-pro division on a homebred daughter of Playgun.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Sitting atop his pretty gray homebred mare, Armando Costa Neto thrust his arm in the air December 10.

He knew his non-pro finals run at the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity had been good.

And he was right. The judges rewarded him with a 224. Armando was fifth to ride in the 24-horse finals, so then it was time to wait.

But his score held up and it was official: Armando is the 2015 non-pro Futurity champ.

“It doesn’t feel real yet,” he said.

Armando was riding Watch Me Whip, a mare he trained himself, just days after the mare’s famous sire, Playgun, was euthanized.

The 2012 gray mare is out of Look The Look by High Brow Cat. She was bred and is owned by Fazenda Barrinha Corporation of Weatherford, Texas, Armando’s family’s company.

“We bought her mom in the 2-year-old sale,” Armando said. “John Mitchell is the one who wanted to breed her mom to Playgun. We did it, and it worked.

“She was a great 2-year-old. She’s never had soundness problems. She always every day just cut. Put a cow in front of her and I knew she was going to work. She’s a true cow horse. I knew the mare was going to be the best if I put some good cows in front of her.”

Going into the finals, Armando’s strategy was to have a clean run.

“The first cow was one we wanted to cut,” Armando said. “She was a good cow and worked great. When I went to get another one, she didn’t go to the right spot, so I looked how the herd was going and finally found a cow that looked like she was willing to come up the pen. I went toward that cow. She was tough and made that mare go. We got some big stops.”

He quit his second cow and couldn’t find anything he wanted for his third cow.

“We saw a little gray cow outside the herd that was looking pretty calm and I just went toward her,” he said. “I cut her and she was probably the best cow of the three. I think that cow made the run.”

 The score was the highest Armando, a native of Brazil who now lives in Weatherford, Texas, has ever marked in the United States, he said.

"I might have had one in Brazil," he said.