Flarida, Schmersal, and Salgado End Open Prelims with Championships at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel

The Open preliminary round of the 2023 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel came to a close Sunday, June 18. While the finalists are celebrating the chance to compete for big money on Saturday, a few are already counting their money from titles awarded during the preliminary round.

Shawn Flarida won the Tamarack Ranch Open 4-Year-Old Stakes, while Craig Schmersal and Fernando Salgado tied for top honors in the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Open Derby.

Craig Schmersal and Fernando Salgado Tie to Win Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Open Derby

Craig Schmersal and Fernando Salgado tied with a score of 221.5 to win the $15,000-added Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Open Derby. Schmersal rode Rootin Tootin Nite, while Salgado rode Swooon.

“He turned really great; he circled really cute,” Schmersal, an NRHA Four Million Dollar Rider, said. “He’s the kind of horse you find yourself rooting for just cause he’s so cute, you just wanna take him home.”

Rootin Tootin Nite is by NRHA Five Million Dollar Sire Gunners Special Nite and out of West Coast Bay. The 2018 stallion is owned by Wendy Elkins and was nominated by Linda Campbell.

Swooon is by NRHA Five Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz and out of Sheza Smart Wimpy. The 5-year-old stallion is owned by Coma Ranch LLC and was bred and nominated by Loren Booth.

Although Salgado, an NRHA Million Dollar Rider, says he has had repeated bad luck with this horse, that changed today. “I showed him last year in the Futurity and I had some really good runs, but something always happened, so he never won a dollar until today,” Salgado said. “But he’s still one of my most favorite horses ever.”

Both the riders took the time to thank their family and staff for their dedication and hard work and to Clark’s Pump-N-Shop for making this class possible.

Shawn Flarida Wins the Tamarack Ranch Open 4-Year-Old Stakes, Open Prime Time, and APHA Open Chrome Cash

With a score of 226.5, Shawn Flarida and Andiamoe had a sweeping win of the Open Prime Time, Open Chrome Cash, and the Tamarack Ranch Open 4-Year-Old Stakes.

Andiamoe, by NRHA Nine Million Dollar Sire Gunnatrashya and out of NRHA Million Dollar Dam Wimpys Little Chic, is a special mare for Flarida. Her family has contributed greatly to his $7 million career, as he has previously won the NRHA Futurity on her, her sire, her dam, and her grandsire.

“My confidence in this mare has never wavered. It wouldn’t waver at any point,” Flarida said. “She’s so confident; she’s so good. If she was a human being, she’d show up a half hour early and stay a half hour late; it’s just who she is.”

The Stakes, open to 4-year-old horses only, debuted in 2021, and the support of the division was soon evident. Tamarack Ranch immediately jumped at the chance to sponsor the $40,000-added Level 4 Open Stakes.

Recognizing the popularity of the 4-year-old Stakes division and to support its longevity, the NRHA Board decided to add an additional $100,000 (to the Open and Non Pro divisions) beginning in 2023, bringing the total added money of the Tamarack Ranch Open Stakes to $110,000. To learn more about the 4-Year-Old nomination program and NRHA’s investment in the future of this group of horses, visit here.

Flarida took time to thank Tamarack Ranch for their support of riders who are entered on younger horses. “Gabe Hutchins from Tamarack, he’s already come by and given me a hug. They’ve done such a great job,” Flarida said. “They’ve just changed the sport.”

The payout for the Tamarack Ranch Open Stakes paid well and deep – to 15th place!

$110,000-added Tamarack Ranch Open Stakes Placings

1. Shawn Flarida and Andiamoe, $30,989.08

2. Andrea Fappani and Mic Dropp, $18,862.92

3. Cade McCutcheon and Trashya Quik, $14,147.19

4. Arno Honstetter and Shine Whiz Jewels, $12,126.16

5. Gabriel Borges and 007, $10.105.145

5. Fernando Salgado and Swooon, $10.105.145

7. Gennardo Lendi and Stepin Out Gunnin, $7,410.43

7. Craig Schmersal and Enterprizingattitude, $7,410.43

9. Craig Schmersal and Revolver 45, $4,378.89

9. Jason Vanlandingham and Shinetime Spook, $4,378.89

9. Jason Vanlandingham and Rufalicious, $4,378.89

9. Duane Latimer and CS Especially Moody, $4,378.89

13. Cade McCutcheon and Lost In The Trash, $2,357.87

13. Rodrigo Nieves and Spook Lil Whiz, $2,357.87

15. Abby Lengel and Bringnthaheat, $1,347.36