Arno Honstetter and Special Made Whiskey won the 2020 NRHA Derby Level 2 Open Championship on Saturday, June 20, in Oklahoma City. • Photo by Kelsey Pecsek Hruska.

Special Made Whiskey & Arno Honstetter Win NRHA Derby Level 2 Open

Arno Honstetter and Special Made Whiskey were last in the draw of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby Open finals, and they shook up the leaderboard.

After scoring a 220.5, they took the Level 2 Open Championship and placed in the Level 4 and 3, banking total earnings of $34,676.

“It was nice,” Honstetter said. “I ran out of horse after my circles, so I didn’t get my stops as nice as I wanted, but the first three-fourths of my pattern was really nice, and he tried really hard.”

The 7-year-old stallion owned by Gordon Robinson and nominated by Dean Latimer, is by Equi-Stat Elite $3 Million Sire Gunners Special Nite and out of Starlight Acres (by Paddys Irish Whiskey).

“He was a 217.5 in the preliminaries—I missed one stop, but that was me,” he said. “He ran really nice, and we were in the bunch who made it back to the finals. I was lucky that he made it. He’s a really nice horse. We wanted to try for the Run for a Million, and that never happened. I showed him in Arizona and I think we will show at the National Reining Breeders Classic.

“He’s been a good horse and shown for a lot of people—I’m very thankful I have him; he is a really talented horse.”

Reserve Champions

The Derby Level 2 Open Reserve Champions were Cody Sapergia and Chicowhiz, who marked a score of 218.5. Not only did the pair take second in the Level 2, they also qualified for the Level 3 and Level 4 finals, bringing total earnings to $20,230.

Bred and nominiated by Equine Plus, Chicowhiz is by Equi-Stat Elite $14 Million Sire Smart Chic Olena and out of Whizicle (by Topsail Whiz). He is owned by LaRizzi Corporation, of Gainesville, Texas.