It seems that Smart Luck’s luck turned around at the 2010 National Reined Cow Horse Association Derby. With NRCHA Million Dollar Rider Todd Bergen at the reins, the talented cow horse won the title after an exciting run-off with the 2009 Derby Champions Corey Cushing and Smart Boons.
The win came with a check for $40,460, a Bob’s Custom Saddle sponsored by Centennial Cattle Company, Rios of Mercedes boots, a custom engraved bridle from Tom Balding Bits & Spurs, a CR Morrison trophy, and a CR Morrison commemorative medallion.
Bergen and the 4-year-old cow horse began the finals with a 220 in the herd work, and followed that with a 221.5 in the rein work. “I went in to compete like I always do – I just want to be in the position where I have a shot going into the fence work,” he said. In the cow work, Bergen and Smart Luck marked a 223 – the same cow work score as Corey Cushing, who also had a 664.5. “Corey ran early in the cow work and I went late. I saw his big run. He came and told me that he knew I could beat him, but he was going to make me work for it. After my fence work I told him I didn’t think he was going to make me work that hard!”
Cushing and Smart Boons competed first in the run-off, and when the Scottsdale, Arizona, trainer had a little difficulty with the first turn, Bergen knew he had a shot. “I saw that he had a little trouble, so my game plan was just to be clean and not get any penalties,” he said.
Smart Luck could be described as a hard luck horse. At the 2009 Snaffle Bit Futurity with Bergen at the reins, the Very Smart Remedy stallion, out of Gunna Be Lucky, fell during the fence work of the finals during what might have been Bergen’s second Snaffle Bit Futurity Championship. Although the stallion did place in the top five at the National Reining Horse Association Futurity, he still has had little bobbles or mishaps at the major reined cow horse events. “We were beginning to think his name was a bad omen and that we’d have to change it,” joked Bergen. “This is a great horse and I’m very happy to finally get a win under his belt.”
Bergen compared Smart Luck to Smart Boons, saying, “He’s a lot like Corey’s horse. They look like cutters in the herd work, reiners in the rein work, and cow horses when they go down the fence. I think the two best horses in the field came out on top today.”
Smart Luck’s owner, Cindy Warn, was in Paso for the Derby – but she wasn’t at the event. “She thinks she’s bad luck, so she spent the whole day doing anything other than being here at the show,” laughed Bergen.
Warn agreed, saying, “I decided to do something different and not be here. I’m pretty excited. He’s a good little horse.” Even though she didn’t see the exciting run-off in person, Warn made sure to visit official NRCHA Videographer Galloping Video to order a tape. “Todd has done a great job. I’ve been with him for years and I follow his lead, because he does such a great job.”
Bergen was equally appreciative of Warn, noting, “She supports me so much and she’s the best customer in the world. She’s a great lady.”