With nearly 200 entries in the Derby Open competition at the High Roller Reining Classic in Las Vegas, it’s no surprise the fight for the top spot was tough. In the end, Starjac Vintage and Andrea Fappani emerged victorious.
They marked a 225 to clinch the Level 4 Open title and earned $15,951 for owner Teton Ridge.
“It was a deep derby, and when you’ve got that many horses spread out in two days it’s challenging,” Fappani said. “It’s so much easier to be in a 40-or-50-horse class on one day. For the judges, it’s easier for them to stay consistent and [as a rider] you know what you have to do.”
Despite the challenges that came with two days of derby competitors, Fappani knew he could show Starjac Vintage to his fullest potential.
“He’s a fun horse to show in that he’s very consistent and he doesn’t anticipate anything. When you show him hard, he doesn’t get rattled up or anything. I’ve probably showed him more than I’ve shown my other derby horses just because he hasn’t given me signs that there is any anticipation or resentment of the show pen,” Fappani said.
Starjac Vintage was bred by Petra Zeitler and is sired by A Sparkling Vintage. He’s out of Hollywood Jac 86 mare Starjac Miss.
In 2019, Starjac Vintage was shown in the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity by Craig Schmersal, where he finished in the top ten in the Open Level 4 Finals. Following the Futurity, he came to Fappani’s barn.
“He’d been a great horse for me. As a 4-year-old, it took a while for us to get together. The way he was trained and the way he is, I really wanted to take time to get together,” Fappani said.
Headed into his final derby year, Fappani feels that Starjac Vintage’s time for a major Open title is coming.
“As a 6-year-old he feels as good as he ever felt. He’s still very honest in the show pen and he prepares the same every time. Starjac Vintage gives you the confidence when you go in, to ask for [a lot]. Because of everything he can do – and he keeps doing it time after time,” Fappani said.
Reserve champions in the High Roller Derby Level 4 Open were Alpha Jac Sparrow and Shawn Flarida. The bay stallion sired by Spooks Gotta Whiz and out of Chexanicki (by Bueno Chexinic) earned $9,709 with his score of 224.5. Alpha Jac Sparrow also won the Stakes Open that ran concurrently with the Derby, earning an additional $37,726 for owner Fritz Leeman.