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Horses like Drinkin Moonshine, who won this year's NRHA Derby Level 3 Non-Pro with Samantha Smith aboard, helped make Lance Griffin an NRHA Two Million Dollar Owner. • Photo by Kelsey Pecsek Hruska.

Lance Griffin Hits Major NRHA Milestone

A National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity-winning owner and breeder recently passed a major earnings milestone with the association.

Lance Griffin, of Edmond, Oklahoma, became an NRHA Two Million Dollar Owner thanks to money his horses won at the recent National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC).

Back in 2007, Griffin became the first NRHA Million Dollar Owner thanks to an unrelenting breeding program he built with his wife, Terry, and their daughter, Samantha Smith. Griffin Quarter Horses dispersed in 2013, but the legacy lives on as Griffin becomes the fourth NRHA Two Million Dollar Owner.

“Any cowboy can make a horse go fast, but it takes a horseman to get a horse to go slow,” Griffin said in a statement issued by the NRHA. “I’m not a cowboy. I don’t look after cows. I’m a horseman. I look after horses. There’s a big difference between the two.”

Every employee who set foot on the Griffin operation heard those words. Not only does Griffin credit the horses for his recent milestone, but he also has an unending list of team members who helped propel the Griffin legacy to this point.

“To say I was gifted at picking a horse would be a huge exaggeration,” Griffin said. “Certain people, like Duane Latimer and Bob Loomis, got us started on this path. I’ve always had a fondness for quality mares, and I’ve believed that from the very beginning.”

Lance Griffin’s Success

Leading up to the NRBC, Griffin was only $4,000 short of hitting the two-million-dollar mark. His daughter won more than $5,000 in the Non-Pro finals between two horses: Drinkin Moonshin (Shine Chic Shine x Wimpy Little Girl x Wimpys Little Step) and Neverthoughtiwould (Pale Face Dunnit x Shine Tini x Shining Spark).

Drinkin Moonshine and Smith had previously found success at the 2020 NRHA Derby, where they won the Level 3 Non-Pro Championship.

Something Griffin might not divulge about his success as an owner is that he’s played a big part in it as a non-pro competitor. He’s earned more than $400,000 in NRHA lifetime earnings.

“This isn’t a blind man’s game, but there’s enough luck to it that it plays a part and we took advantage of that luck when we got it,” Griffin said. “You get lucky and sometimes you get unlucky.”

Mare Power

Griffin found a majority of his luck in his mares. One of those was Shirleys Folly, a daughter of Great Pine and out of Ms Enterprise (by Be Aech Enterprise). One of her first foals to hit the ground running was The Great Whiz by NRHA Twelve Million Dollar Sire Topsail Whiz.

The Great Whiz won the 2003 NRHA Futurity championship for Griffin with Duane Latimer aboard, and went on to win more than $273,969. Griffin also bred the horse.

“I walked into the futurity prospect sale and bought that mare [Shirleys Folly] without knowing anything about her,” Griffin said of Shirleys Folly, who foaled the earners of $674,221. “Her first foal [The Great Whiz] that I bred and raised out of her won the Open Level 4 at the 2003 NRHA Futurity. Many horses don’t work out, but in strange ways, they do. Our biggest reason for success has been consistently trying to have good stock and good help.”