For Immediate Release – June 27, 2018 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Day three of action in the Jim Norick Arena featured the start of open competition at the 2018 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby. With 126 professional riders slated to compete in day one of open action, the arena was filled with anticipation as each rider entered the arena.
The emotion was evident in Abby Lengel’s face as she heard a score of 226 ½ called after finishing her last stop. Aboard Jody Puno’s ARC Gunna Mark Ya, Lengel took the high score of the day, placing the duo atop the leaderboard of both the Level (L)3 and 4 Open Derby go round. Bred and nominated by Arcese Quarter Horses USA, ARC Gunna Mark Ya is by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Gunnatrashya and out of Shiney Miss Marker and has achieved much success with Lengel on board. In 2017, the pair took home their highest paycheck at the National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC), taking home the L2 Open Championship and reserve in the L3. In all, the 6-year-old mare has nearly $88,000 in NRHA Lifetime Earnings (LTE).
Other notable runs of the day included:
- A 226 for Cardinal Hill Training Center LLC’s Dun It For Whizkey (2013 stallion with $180,300 NRHA LTE) ridden by NRHA Million Dollar Rider Franco Bertolani
- A 226 for Jason Dobrinski’s Luckie Moonstone (2013 stallion with $44,100 NRHA LTE) ridden by NRHA Six Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida
- A 224 ½ for Cuoghi Reining Horses USA Inc’s All American Vintage (2014 stallion with $164,200 NRHA LTE) ridden by NRHA Five Million Dollar Rider Andrea Fappani
Scoring a 220 ½ and taking the top spot in the L1 and 2 were Gabriel Bittar Borges and Checksworthy (Big Chex To Cash x Banjoes Shining Star). Nominated, bred and owned by Terry Leffew, the 4-year-old mare has already earned $14,650.55 while piloted by Borges in NRHA approved competition. At the 2018 NRBC, the dynamic duo took home a championship in the L1 Open and reserve in the L2 Open. The pair also finished in the top 20 in the L3 Open. Checkworthy’s NRHA LTE exceed $52,000.
Shauna Larcome and Rosanne Sternberg’s Hey Joe scored a 219.5 for the day, earning them the top score in the Prime Time division (222 ½ handicapped score). Hey Joe, who is an NRHA Markel Futurity Sales Graduate, bred and nominated by Wagman Ranch Inc, is no stranger to the spotlight within NRHA Derby competition. In 2017, the stallion took a third place finish in the L4 Open Division with rider Jason Vanlandingham.
During the NRHA Derby, the world’s best 4-, 5-, and 6-year-old reining horses and competitors come to Oklahoma City to compete for an estimated total purse and cash prizes of more than $1 million. The weekend features the NRHA Non Pro Derby finals starting at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Friday, June 29 and the NRHA Open Derby finals at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 30. For more information on schedules, live video coverage, hotel accommodations, sponsors and more visit nrhaderby.com.