• Photo by Waltenberry.

4-Year-Old Stakes Added to Major NRHA Event

Thanks to Tamarack Ranch, 4-year-old reining horses will have the chance at even more money at one of the biggest National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) shows on the calendar.

Held at the 2021 NRHA Derby, the $40,000-added Tamarack Ranch Open Stakes is open to 4-year-old horses. The Stakes will run concurrently with the NRHA Derby go-rounds, and while cross-entry into the NRHA Derby is allowed, it is not mandatory.

“Suzy Simar and Tamarack Ranch have supported NRHA for several years through corporate partnership and before that, event sponsorship.  This year, 4-year-old horses have the opportunity to compete for big money,” NRHA Senior Director of Corporate Relations and Communications Sammi Miller said in a statement. “Thank you to Gabe Hutchins of Tamarack Ranch for sponsoring the new division. Tamarack Ranch is forward-thinking and committed to raising the bar at events.  When they saw a need in our industry, they worked to find a solution. As with so many of our corporate partners, that kind of initiative and dedication has helped NRHA thrive over the years.”

Hutchins, head trainer for Tamarack Ranch, said the ranch saw a need for more promotion of 4-year-olds now that many shows now allow 7-year-old horses to compete in derby classes.

“That’s a big change in horsepower over that age range,” he said. “We thought we could give 4-year-old horses the opportunity to show one more year for good money while not having to compete against the older, more finished horses.”

Hutchins and Simar spent time discussing the idea with other owners and trainers before presenting it to NRHA. Tamarack Ranch has committed to sponsoring the Open Stakes for the next 3 years.

“We believe in the welfare and longevity of the horse and giving those 4-year-old horses another year to finish and get ready will help them in the long run,” he said.

Feedback from fellow trainers has been overwhelmingly positive, Hutchins said.

“I have spoken with a few just in the last week who told me they hadn’t planned to bring a 4-year-old to the Derby but would now,” he said.

The NRHA Derby, presented by Markel Insurance, is scheduled for June 19-27 in Oklahoma City.