Wearing a black jacket with the words "Spots Hot" on the back, Wesley Galyean proved Sunday he has another quality horse.
Aboard Hangem Cat, Galyean rung up a score of 224 to win the Classic Open first go-round by four points.
Phil Rapp and Dont Look Twice -- the 2009 Augusta Futurity Open champions -- and Austin Shepard and Playin With a Cat tied for second at 220.
The top 36 horses with scores of 214 or better advanced to the second go-round, which begins at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Galyean and Spots Hot won the grandest prize in cutting in 2004, the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity Open Championship. The sorrel stallion won almost $530,000 in his career before retiring.
Now, Galyean has another top-notch horse.
Hangem Cat, a 5-year-old gelding, has won almost $200,000 in his career, including the 2009 Tunica Futurity Open title with Galyean. Galyean has been training the horse, owned by Steven Feiner, since age 2.
"He's always been extremely athletic, real physical," Galyean said. "He's probably one of the most solid ones I've had."
Galyean and Hangem Cat cut three cows during their run. The first cow was fast and physical, giving the pair a challenge.
"He was really spot on and stopping hard," Galyean said about his horse. "He was being really good."
Galyean finished off his run with a pair of good cows to mark the highest score of the show so far.
"We got the horse showed, and the horse did good," he said. "Sometimes, it's hard to get a run like this in this pen."
The 26-year-old Galyean, who lives in Claremore, Okla., married fiancÃ©e Kristen Glover on Valentine's Day last year. When he's not spending time with his family, he enjoys wakeboarding, hunting and hanging out with his family.
Galyean is training 25 horses, and is showing three this week in Augusta, but maybe none as nice as Hangem Cat.
"I think I've got a few really nice horses," he said, "but he sure has been eager to get in the show pen since last year."
Rapp, of Weatherford, Texas, and Dont Look Twice posted their score on the second run of the day. In the first run, Austin Shepard and High Brow CD lost a cow.
"Austin went in on High Brow CD and kind of got run over," Rapp said. "He cut a few cows we were really high on. So we kind of just fell back and cut a little more feel. And it worked out."
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or email@example.com.