Hey Roy and Craig Schmersal shot to the top of the High Roller Reining Classic Stakes Level 4 Open, marking a 228.5 for a $38,175 payday. The head-turning $100,000-added Open Stakes saw 65 entries in the Level 4 Open alone.
Paying more than $180,000, the Stakes kindled fierce competition, with three horse-and-rider teams marking a 227 to tie for Reserve Champion honors.
“This was the one to win for sure,” said newly-minted EquiStat Elite $5 Million Rider Craig Schmersal. “That horse is pretty electric. I knew if I could get his energy channeled in the right direction, it was going to be a big score. I didn’t think it would be so soon but I’m glad it was.”
The High Roller Reining Classic was Schmersal and Hey Roy’s first big show together. A palomino stallion by Star Spangled Whiz, Hey Roy is out of National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Hall of Fame mare and EquiStat Elite $1 Million Dam Dun It For Chex (by Hollywood Dun It). Bred by Cardinal Hill Training Center and now owned by Hey Roy Partners, Hey Roy was ridden throughout his 3-year-old year by trainer Franco Bertolani.
“He’s an overachiever for sure. He’s super light and sensitive, and he’s the kind of horse you can go and mark a big score on. He’s super gritty and there is nothing he won’t do at a high rate of speed or high rate of difficulty,” Schmersal said.
With his 228.5, Schmersal and Hey Roy also finished Reserve Champion in the Level 4 Open Derby, snagging an additional $9,181. That pushed his lifetime EquiStat record to more than $80,533.
“I’m super excited for that horse, for next year. He’s the kind of horse that can complete at the major derbies and I don’t think I’m with him just yet. I think Franco [Bertolani] did a great job on him,” Schmersal said.
The three Reserve Champions in the High Roller Stakes Level 4 Open were Stopping In Jersey (Yellow Jersey x Stop Little Sister x Magnum Chic Dream) and Jason Vanlandingham; Electric Whizkey (Whizkey N Diamonds x Electrinicki x Jacs Electric Spark) and Arno Honstetter and National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity Open Champion All Bettss Are Off (Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner] x Wimpys Little Chic x Wimpys Little Step) and Andrea Fappani. Each pair earned $18,534 for their efforts.