During the Wild Card Reining Challenge 4-Year-Old Futurity Open, Gabe Hutchins rode Ladi With A Gun to a 219.5 from the 21st draw. The score topped the Level 4 Open and seemed like it would hold for the win, but then Legends West and Andrea Fappani marked the same score from the 32nd draw. There was a tie.
Since the 4-Year-Old Futurity is about preserving young horses and not putting too much pressure on them, Fappani and Hutchins agreed to not call for a run-off, choosing to split the Championship instead. Each received $6,693.
“We both decided both our horses didn’t really need another run today,” Hutchins said. “They’re both still green, and we just felt like it wasn’t the right thing for the horses.”
Ladi With A Gun (Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner] x Easy Lil Lady x Easy Otie Whiz) belongs to Tamarack Ranch, the sponsor of the 4-Year-Old Futurity at the Wild Card. She was bred by Darling 888 Ranch, and Tamarack Ranch, of Joseph, Oregon, purchased her as a weanling.
“She just was really immature as a 3-year-old, and we decided since we were really supporting this anyway we’d keep her back, so we did,” Hutchins said. “I just really took my time with her, was able to give her some extra time to get broke and finished. It’s really paid off for this mare.”
The Wild Card was the first time for Fappani to show Legends West (Custom Legend x Western Whizzy x West Coast Whiz), who is the first high-level reiner for his owner/breeder, Scott Loughridge, of Las Vegas. Legends West came into Fappani’s program later during his 3-year-old year, so Fappani knew he probably would not make the futurities.
“It was actually kind of a plan from the beginning to come to this show with him,” Fappani said. “It’s nice that it turned out good. It’s a horse that hasn’t been pushed, he hasn’t been shown at all. Even this year, this is the first time he’s ever been shown. He matured at the right time.”
Fappani, an Equi-Stat Elite $4 Million Rider, also piloted Spooks Show Time to the 4-Year-Old Stakes Level 4 Open Championship, banking $3,462 for owner Rancho Oso Rio. The pair marked a 222.5.
Pat and Jim Warren, of Rancho Oso Rio, purchased Spooks Show Time (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Dolittle Lena x Shining Spark) after the 2016 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity to be a non-pro horse for Pat.
“But pretty soon I realized he was more than a non-pro horse, so I kind of stole him from her and asked her if I could try him out,” Fappani said with a laugh. Since the stallion only had one testicle, they gelded him, but the surgery to remove his undescended testicle turned out to be more involved than expected because of how high up in the body cavity it was. Spooks Show Time had about 60 days off after surgery, and Fappani has been legging him up since.
“We decided to bring him here just to try him out and see what he’s like, and we’ll maybe take him to the NRHA Derby or the High Roller,” Fappani said. “I was obviously super happy with him. I didn’t really know what to expect. I like the horse at home but I don’t know him very well, so it was a trip to kind of get to know each other a little bit more. He sure feels like a horse that’s going to step up and be good.”
4-Year-Old Futurity Level 3 Open
Hollywallawood carried Pierre-Luc Phaneuf to a 217, topping the 4-Year-Old Futurity Level 3 Open. They also took fifth in Level 4, earning a total of $7,154.
“He’s a real nice horse,” Phaneuf said. “I just wanted to show him to his ability. I thought if I could go and half everything, I would be good. We had an overturn both spins, but he showed good.”
Phaneuf said Hollywallawood (Walla Walla Whiz x Strike A Star x Grays Starlight) is “as laid-back as they come” and never complains. Guy Methot purchased the stallion when he was a yearling, and he has been in training with Phaneuf since last October.
“He never showed and he was behind, so I told Guy, ‘There’s that show next year [the Wild Card]. If he’s ready, that would be a good place to take him,'” Phaneuf said. “From the day I got him, he’s just been gaining and gaining every month. Maybe a month before this show I said, ‘I think he’s worth taking there.'”
Walla Walla Lil Pep (Walla Walla Whiz x Juanita Chic Olena x Smart Chic Olena), winner of the 4-Year-Old Futurity Levels 2 and 1 Non-Pro the previous night with Janelle Flaherty in the saddle, carried Patrick Flaherty to the Level 3 Open Reserve Championship. The title was worth $3,693 for the Steve Flaherty-bred mare.
4-Year-Old Futurity Levels 2 & 1 Open
The 4-Year-Old Futurity proved time and again to be beneficial to the horses that, for whatever reason, did not make the futurities last year. One such horse was Little Cannonball, who marked a 212 with Benny Maddox to win the 4-Year-Old Futurity Levels 2 and 1 Open championships.
“This horse didn’t quite make a futurity horse last year, so we decided to save him and show him in this deal,” Maddox said. “It was perfect because he got to mature a little bit.”
Maddox started Little Cannonball (Tinker With Guns x Chex Out The Cowgirl x Lean With Me) as a 2-year-old, then he went to Fappani during his 3-year-old year. Fappani has shown several of Little Cannonball’s half-brothers like Nics Little Bud (by Nic It In The Bud, $142,187) and Thebettertohearuwith (by Spooks Gotta Whiz, $64,040). Maddox got him back as a 4-year-old.
“He’s been fun,” Maddox said. “He’s got a monster stop, so he’s really fun to show.”
The duo won $3,879 plus $1,231 for placing fourth in Level 3. They were next planning to show at the NRHA Derby.
Taking Reserve in Level 2 were Ida Be A Gunner (Gunner x Alrighta Ida x Top Dun Cody) and Brent Naylor, who marked a 209.5 and collected $1,627. Dunnatrashya (Gunnatrashya x Tuff As Footwork x Hollywood Dun It) and Cheyenne Leon were second in Level 1 and banked $1,135.
4-Year-Old Stakes Levels 3 & 2 Open
The 4-Year-Old Stakes provides a venue for 4-year-olds with show records to compete without the added pressure of older derby horses. New to the Wild Card this year, it was a popular event.
In the Levels 3 and 2, Gunners High Roller and Lorinaldo Gomes took home the championships and a $4,162 payday after marking a 219.5. The stallion (Gunner x Yoplait Light x Grays Starlight) is a homebred belonging to Marc and Kathy Gordon, of Elgin, Illinois.
Gomes started training reining horses in Brazil before coming to work for the Gordons.
“I feel very good. I’m very happy and very thankful for my boss, Marc Gordon, for giving me the opportunity of riding a nice horse like this,” Gomes said. “I’m looking forward to Oklahoma [the NRHA Derby].”
Gomes had been riding the stallion for only about four months prior to showing in Las Vegas.
“He’s very talented,” he said. “I think he’s much more mature now. I believe if we can be consistent, he’ll be a nice horse.”
The Gordons also owned the Reserve Champion in both levels, Customized Whizz. The stallion (Walla Walla Whiz x Custom Barbie x Custom Crome) carried Linde Von Koeding to a 219 and collected $3,071.
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