As the 2017 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity & Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship Show (NAAC) moved into the second week of competition, more exciting reining action filled the Oklahoma State Fair Park, where one of the world’s most prestigious reining events open to 3-year-old horses is being held. The NRHA Futurity Levels 1, 2 and 3 Open semifinals concluded with the second section bringing excitement to enthusiasts of the sport who made their way to Oklahoma City from all over the world.
NRHA professional Eduardo Salgado riding Gunners Bar Fly, a sorrel mare sired by NRHA Nine Million Dollar Colonels Smoking Gun (Gunner), out of Blonde At The Bar, stepped up to a 220.5 – after scoring a 216.5 in the first section of the qualifying go round – bringing his composite score to a 437 to lead the Futurity Level 3 Open division once the semifinals were completed.
The NRHA/Markel Insurance Futurity Prospect Sale Graduate is owned by NRHA Million Dollar Owner and Hall of Fame Inductee Rosanne Stenberg. She is bred by NRHA Hall of Fame Inductee Clint Haverty and was nominated by McQuay Stables Inc. “My mare was really good and was perfect in all her maneuvers, and she stopped big,” Salgado said. “It was a really good performance, and I hope we will be just as good in the finals.”
In the first section of the Levels 3, 2 and 1 Futurity Open semifinals, NRHA professional Bobby Avila, Jr. rode Pale Face Chex (Pale Face Dunnit x Lena Sugar Chex), owned by 6-K LLC and nominated by Kristen Avila, to a 219. The duo had scored a 216.5 in the first go-round, which brought them the highest composite score of 435.5 to lead the Level 2 division. Their composite remained unbeaten following the second section.
Cashing In Diamonds (Lil Joe Cash x Diamond Steppin Whiz), ridden by NRHA professional Vanessa Strotmann and owned by Stefano Calcagnini, posted a 218 in the Semifinals. With the mare nominated by Green Valley Ranch between the reins, Strotmann posted a 216.5 the first go. With a 218 scored in the first section of the semifinals, their composite score of 434.5 remains the top score in the Level 1 after the conclusion of the semifinals. Cashing In Diamonds is an NRHA/Markel Insurance Sale consignment.
The following number of horses will qualify for the Open Futurity Finals in each level:
Level 3: Top 30 horses (plus ties)
Level 2: Top 20 horses (plus ties)
Level 1: Top 15 horses (plus ties)
Prime Time: Top 10 horses (plus ties)
Those horses qualifying for only the Level 3 and/or Level 2 and/or Level 1 Open divisions will show in the first section. The remaining qualifiers (Level 4 Open and Level 4 Open/Level 3 Open/Level 2 Open/Level 1 Open divisions) will compete in the second section. The finals in each division will be a clean-slate format.
The top 75 horses (plus ties) in the Level 4 Open division will advance to the Level 4 Open Silver Spurs Equine semifinal, also sponsored by Not Ruf At All, to be held on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
Following the first section of the Non Pro Futurity qualifier, NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider and Hall of Fame Inductee Mandy McCutcheon riding Gunner Be Custom (Gunner x Custom Made Dunit), a mare bred, owned, and nominated by McQuay Stables Inc. scored a 217.5 to lead the Futurity Level 4 Non-Pro division. Once the second section concluded, McQuay held on to the highest score.
In the third section, Kim Muehlstaetter scored a 220.5 to take the top spot in the Futurity Level 4 Non Pro division on Spooks Grand Slam (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Shiney Diamond Lady). The stallion, owned by Kim and Martin Muehlstaetter, was bred and nominated by Bobby Lewis.
“He went in there and executed every maneuver,” Muehlstaetter said. “He felt a little tired by the end of the run, so I need to keep him a little fresher for the finals. I really just wanted to get back to the finals; I did not care where I was sitting, I just wanted to make it. I was thrilled with what he marked, and knowing what he is capable of. He is the nicest futurity horse I have ever had, and he has been so much fun along the way at all of the pre-futurities.”
Muehlstaetter said her plan is to keep her run in the finals penalty-free and keep him in the same mental and physical space that he was in today. “I wanted it so bad for him,” she said. “It was such a relief knowing that he showed to that ability.”
Debbie Hubbert and Allthewrightstuff earned a 216.5 to lead the Level 3 and 2 divisions in the second section and held on to the lead. The gelding, by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Hollywoodstinseltown and out of Shes Cowismatic, is bred, owned, and nominated by Hubbert.
A half point behind, Gunnin For The Gold (Pale Face Dunnit x Gorgeous Like A Star), owned and ridden by Terri-June Granger, also held onto the lead in the Level 1 after posting a 216 in the first section. The gelding was bred by Greg Hill and nominated by Ginger Schmersal.
The following finalists have been determined and will make their way to the clean slate finals:
Level 4 Non Pro Top 25 horses (plus ties)
Level 3 Non Pro Top 20 horses (plus ties)
Level 2 Non Pro Top 15 horses (plus ties)
Level 1 Non Pro Top 15 horses (plus ties)
Prime Time Non Pro Top 10 horses (plus ties)
Youth Non Pro Top 15 horses (plus ties)
The top 5 horses (plus ties), following those who qualified for the finals in all four levels, have a chance to earn a ticket to the finals by taking part in the Consolation which will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
Riders in the Youth and Prime Time divisions are not eligible for the Consolation. The champions will be determined in the clean slate finals on Friday, Dec. 1.