When the High Roller Reining Classic organizers planned the classes, the separation of the Derby and Stakes classes left Andrea Fappani without a third horse to ride in the Derby Open. Always an opportunist, Fappani penciled in family-owned stallion, Icecube.
Ridden by son Luca Fappani to a Level 4 Non-Pro Derby Championship just two days prior, Fappani saw the Open Derby as an opportunity to test the 6-year-old stallion’s mettle.
“There was a score of 228.5 in front of me and I told [my help] ‘there is no way I’m not going to try to beat it. There is no part of me that’s going to go in and do a clean run, mark a 224 or 225. Let’s find out if he can really step up or not. I pushed him pretty much everywhere and he gave it me,” Fappani explained.
The pair marked a blistering 231 in the Open finals on Saturday, Sept. 18, and answered Fappani’s question of ability with a resounding, “Yes!” Icecube earned $15,083 for his Open victory, adding to his $5,277 Non-Pro check just days prior.
Icecube was the result of stallion SG Frozen Enterprise and Taris Designer Genes (by Mr Boomerjac). Having ridden both parents, Fappani advised mare owner Pat Warren, of Rancho Rio Oso, on the pairing.
“I thought it would be a great cross. When we were done [breeding] a couple for the ranch she said ‘breed one for you.’ It couldn’t have ended up any better, honestly,” Fappani said.
As a 3-year-old, Icecube felt to Fappani like he didn’t have what it took to be a top Level 4 Open Futurity horse so the trainer’s wife, Tish, took the reins – and brought home the 2018 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Level Non-Pro Futurity Championship. Fappani described Icecube as more fractious as a young horse, so the family took its time with developing him as a competitor.
“Luca really stepped up. He rides [similarly] to me and I’ve watched him ride a lot, training on that horse. Luca does all the training on [Icecube]. Sometimes he’ll ask for tips, but I’ve got a lot of faith in him. He’s clicked with that horse and taken him to another level stopping especially. [Icecube] was always hard to get his front end moving [while] stopping as good as it needed to be,” Fappani said.
Now, Icecube has hit his stride as a derby competitor, earning titles such as 2021 The Run For A Million Non-Pro Co-Champion. Fappani said they are looking forward to showing Icecube in the derbies with 7-year-old eligibility.