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Sam Flarida and Hollywooddirtysecret won the NRHA Derby Youth Championship. • Photo by Kelsey Pecsek Hruska.

NRHA Derby Redemption for Sam Flarida & Hollywooddirtysecret

Sam Flarida was the last Youth rider to compete in the second section of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby Non-Pro finals, and he and Hollywooddirtysecret sure made it count.

He  and Hollywooddirtysecret completed impressive maneuver after impressive maneuver, resulting in a score of 219.5. Not only did that win the Derby’s Youth Championship, but it was good enough to tie for third in the Level 4 Non-Pro and earned them $10,651.

For Flarida, the good run in the finals was the redemption he needed. 

“This feels really good. I felt like I let him down last year in the finals, and this year we really felt together,” he said. “This is his first time showing in a full year. I’m so proud of him for coming back. He feels better than he ever has, and he seems happy and healthy.”

“Always Had a Connection”

Hollywooddirtysecret is a 5-year-old gelding by Equi-Stat Elite $2 Sire Hollywoodtinseltown out of Maximum RPM (by Einsteins Revolution). He was nominated by his breeder, Patricia Duque, of Lafayette, California. 

“We’ve had him since he was a yearling, and I’ve always had a connection with him. He was always the one that would come to me and stuff like that, so we’ve always had something there,” Flarida said. “This horse gives you a special feeling about yourself. He makes you feel like you can do anything in the world, and he gives his all every time.”

Sam is the son of NRHA Six Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida. 

“My dad knew I was ready, so when it was time to show he just said to have fun and told me we were going to do well no matter what,” the 17-year-old said. “I thank my whole family for everything and the whole Shawn Flarida Reiners group.”

Youth Reserve Championship

The Reserve Championship went to another son of Hollywoodstinseltown, Shining In Town. The palomino stallion and Jennifer Neudorf are very familiar with the Jim Norick Arena, having swept all four levels of the last year’s NRHA Derby Non-Pro and the Youth. 

This year, they marked a 216.5 to finish second in the Youth and fifth in the Level 4 Non-Pro, which earned them $8,665. That was enough to push the lifetime earnings of the stallion out of Shine Ann (by Shining Spark) past the $200,000 mark. He is the second-leading earner for his sire.

Shining In Town was bred by Carol Rose, of Gainesville, Texas.