Shawn Flarida and Shiner On My Eye Slide to Top of NRHA Futurity Open Prelims

The field has been narrowed, and the scene is set for the 2021 National Reining Horse Association Futurity Open finals, to be held Saturday, Dec. 4. More than 396 entries have been whittled down to the cream of the crop, and it’s almost time to see who will come out on top.

The Open first go took place Nov. 25-27, and the top horses from each level advanced to the semi-finals. Levels 3, 2 and 1 went through the pen on Tuesday, Nov. 30, and on Wednesday, the L4 Open semi-finals, presented by Not Ruf At All, featured the top 75 horses, plus ties. From there, the top 30 competitors (plus ties) with the highest composite scores in L4-1, plus the top 10 in the Prime Time, advanced to the clean-slate Finals.

This year, the Level 4 Open exhibitors will be competing for a record-breaking $350,000 during the MS Diamonds TX L4 Open Futurity Finals — the largest limited-age event championship check in the Western performance horse industry. The Reserve Champion will still win a guaranteed $150,000, and third place will bank $100,000. Those places make up a large chunk of the NRHA Futurity’s $2,000,000 purse, made available thanks in large part to NRHA Futurity Challenge sponsors and the NRHA nomination program.

Topping the L4 semi-finals and securing their spot in the finals with a composite 445.5 were NRHA Six Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida and Shiner On My Eye. The duo marked a 223.5 in the first round and a 222 in the semi-finals. Shiner On My Eye, by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Shiners Voodoo Dr and out of Flashy Lil Step, is owned by NRHA Million Dollar Owner Robert Santagata. The colt was bred and nominated by Empire Ranch. Flarida and Shiner On My Eye also top the Prime Time Open.

Flarida, a five-time NRHA Futurity Champion, also took second in the L4 semi-finals on Alpha Jac Sparrow (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Chexanicki) with a 445. Alpha Jac Sparrow, owned by Fritz Leeman, was bred and nominated by Alpha Quarter Horses LLC.

In the L3 Open, Matt McDowell rode Xtra Whiz On Ice, owned by Elisha Irwin, to the highest composite, a 442. Xtra Whiz On Ice, by SG Frozen Enterprise and out of Lil Ruf Whiz Qhiz, scored a 221 in the first go and a 221 in the semi-finals. Silver Spurs Equine bred and nominated Xtra Whiz On Ice.

Jesse Beckley held the top spot in the L2 Open on Trashinyurdreams, owned by Norma Siebert. Trashinyurdreams, who was nominated by Rhodes River Ranch, was sired by NRHA Five Million Dollar Sire Gunnatrashya and is out of This Chicsdundreamin. The pair scored a 220 in the first go, which combined with their 220 in the semi-finals for a composite 440.

Shining Like Flinn, owned by Pastorino Hay & Ranch Supply and nominated by Mary Jansma, carried Wade McDonald to the No. 1 placing in the L1 with a 432.5 after marking a 216.5 in the first go and a 216 in the semi-finals. Shining Like Flinn is by In Like Flinn and out of Lil Shining Suzana.

The bubble needed to earn a berth in the L4 Open Finals was a 437.5. In the L3, it took a 433.5 to advance. L2 riders had to mark at least a 425.5, while in the L1, it took a 415 or more. To make the Top 10 in the Prime Time Open, riders needed to earn at least a 435.