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Ricato Suave was in control from start to finish at the NRCHA Eastern Derby, earning his first premier event victory with trainer Clay Volmer. * Photo by Primo Morales.

Clay Volmer & Ricato Suave Win NRHCA Eastern Derby

Clay Volmer and Ricato Suave scored a smooth victory in the Dom Conicelli Memorial Eastern Derby, winning the second annual event Wednesday, July 14 in Cordova, Tennessee.

Volmer and the son of EquiStat Elite $44 Million Sire Metallic Cat and out of Hip Hip Sue Rey (by Dual Rey) started the Eastern Derby with a bang, locking in the high score of the rein work with a 220.5. The NRCHA professional from Brock, Texas, continued to stay in the top through the Derby Open go rounds, marking a 219 in the herd work before finishing the event with a 216.5 down the fence. The composite of 656 topped the reserve champion by a point-and-a-half, earning the title and $17,434 for owners Shaleah Hester and Madeline Fountain.

The 2020 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Reserve Champion competed in a hackamore, and Volmer said the stallion seemed to relish the freedom to make the fence run his own.

 “I actually train a lot of my horses in a noseband I bought years and years ago. He is very comfortable in it and works a little better in that than in a snaffle bit, so he’s taken to the hackamore easily,” Volmer explained. “He is a little more free in it than in the snaffle to express his individuality. I go along for the ride.”

While Volmer says that often the 4-year-old year after a successful futurity season can be tough on a young horse, that is not the case with Ricato Suave, who was bred by Flag Ranch LLC.

“It usually takes a while for them to settle back in, but he’s been great. It can be even more difficult on a stallion if you start breeding, so we all talked and made the decision to hold off breeding him for a year. I think he will go on to have an incredible breeding career because he is the epitome of what a stud should be.

 “He has so such presence and eye appeal, and he has never wanted to be any trouble. He is very good to be around and has learned well,” Volmer said. “He’s been shown enough now that he doesn’t take much schooling; he is extremely fun to be around.”

Married to fellow Open reined cow horse rider Veronica Swales, Volmer said that the couple hauled to the Eastern Derby so Swales could take advantage of her last year in the Limited Open division. She didn’t top the class like she did at last month’s DT Horses Western Derby, Swales continued to make solid runs on her Derby horses.

“She’s had an outstanding year. She’s incredible and has helped me so much,” Volmer said. “We also brought a couple non-pros out here and they’re having fun. Now, we’ll show in the [National Stock Horse Association] Derby in Vegas because I qualified for The Run For The Million and it is right after that, then we will show him at the [NRCHA] Hackamore Classic in Fort Worth.”

Derby Open Reserve Champion Sarah Dawson and Smart Chic An Tari (Smart Chic Olena x Shiney Tari x Shining Spark), bred and owned by Aaron Ranch, scored a composite 650.5 (215 herd/220 rein/219.5 cow) to earn $13,076.