Thanks to sponsorship from Cardinal Reining Horses, the Open Derby at the Tulsa Reining Classic featured $43,000 added money. Cardinal Reining Horses, located in Aubrey, Texas, is owned by Joao Marcos, who purchased the facility in the summer of 2013.
Taking the lion’s share of the pot was Peter DeFreitas of Leland, North Carolina, who piloted Wimpys Little Freckl, winning the Open Level 4 and Open Level 3 with a 224 – besting co-Reserve Champions Brian Bell and Casey Hinton by a scant half-point. All total, the wins netted $12,547.
It was the 5-year-old stallion’s last show of the year. “There’s not really any other big-money derbies this year. We want to be able to give him some time off before next year,” DeFreitas said. “I’ve shown at Tulsa a few times before. It’s a 19-hour trip but I like coming here. Winning definitely makes me want to come back!”
DeFreitas has ridden the Wimpys Little Freckl, by Wimpys Little Step out of Ritas San Jo, his whole career, which includes a Reserve Championship at the Quarter Horse Congress and qualification to the finals at both the National Reining Breeders Classic and NRHA Derby.
“I was very happy with him today. He was with me the whole time and I couldn’t have asked for him to be any better,” he said. Wimpys Little Freckl is owned by Monica Watson, who has raised several notable reining horses including Wimpys Little Step and Wimpys Little Chic. “She is a great lady to work for,” DeFreitas said.
Brian Bell and his horse Footwork Revolution (Einsteins Revolution x Fancy Footwork) tied with Casey Hinton and his horse Spooks Eclipse (Smart Spook x Chex Drive) for the Co-Reserve Championship in both divisions with scores of 223.5. Each took home $6,682.
If there was a “Horse with the Most Heart” award at the Tulsa Reining Classic, Cash For Legends would be a shoe-in. Only 150 days out from colic surgery, the 5-year-old gelding only began being legged back up a couple weeks ago.
“We brought him to Tulsa and we were just going to play with him and take it easy but he was doing so good that we decided to go ahead and show him,” Jordan Donnelly, his rider, explained. “He recovered from his surgery so quickly that you’d never know.” But he started off on Thursday of the event winning the NRHA Intermediate and Limited Open classes. Then, on Sunday, he pulled a two-fer, marking a 223 in the Cardinal Reining Horses Derby, finishing fourth in the Level 4 and Level 3, and winning the Level 2 for $6,675. Barely an hour later, he went on to win the NRHA Youth 14-18 class with owner Allison Smith.
“He just tries his heart out – I’ve never rode a horse like him,” Donnelly said. “We just rode him around lightly this morning. I showed him and then we gave him about an hour break, washed him off, then she got on him and took him in the pen and he was a 145!”
There was a three-way tie for the Reserve Championship of the Level 2 between Gabriel Diano and Paparazzi Princess, Marcy Ver Meer and Blue Chocolate Kid, and Dan Huss and Skeets Tricked Out. Each marked a 222 to win $857. Diano owns Paparazzi Princess (Gallo Del Cielo x Princess In Diamonds), while Blue Chocolate Kid (Chocolate Chic Olena x Blue Eyed Kid) is owned by Bar Double C Ranch and Skeets Tricked Out (Skeets Peppy x Miss Trickynic) is owned by Frederick Christen.
A run-off decided the Championship of the Ariat Novice Open Derby. Jason Vanlandingham and Loveandotherdiasters, Marcy Ver Meer and Blue Chocolate Kid, and Skeets Tricked Out all marked a 222. In the end, Vanlandingham and the Tinsel Nic gelding, out of HA Chic A Tune, were victorious, collecting $4,020. Ver Meer and Huss each took home an additional $2,141 for the Novice Horse Open Derby.
“I’ve had him a week. It’s mainly been me trying to get to know him the whole time we’ve been here,” Vanlandingham explained. “Sean Pulley has had him in training at Sterling Ranch. He came to our place last week to get some help on him and asked me to ride him. I tweaked a couple little things and he said ‘Why don’t you show him?’
“I told him I didn’t want to take his horse out from under him, and he told me to just show him here and that he could always show him next year.” Vanlandingham was complimentary of the horse, adding, “He’s awfully nice. He’s a really big stopper and I pushed him as hard as I could the first time I ran him. In the run-off he was exhausted because we had just come out of the pen, so I picked him up a little more, but I didn’t need to.”