With less than three months to the start of the National Reining Horse Association Futurity, many trainers are actively preparing their prospective horses. Part of that preparation process includes going to events leading up to the big show, and the Tulsa Reining Classic is a stop for many.
With more than $60,000 in added money, the Hollywoodstinseltown Open Futurity is a lucrative training ground, and on Saturday night, NRHA $5 Million Dollar Rider Andrea Fappani won the Open Level 4 on Itsallinthegenes, a horse he owns with his wife Tish. The pair marked a 224, besting the field of 89 by two points. The win came with a check for $14,593, as well as Bob’s Custom Saddle and awards from Oklahoma Equine Hospital and the Tulsa Reining Classic.
“This is a gelding we bred and raised. He’s by Smart Spook and out of Electric Genes, a mare I showed a few years back,” Fappani said. “Pat Warren owned the mare and let us do some extra embryos when she was done getting hers, and we thought it would be a great cross with Smart Spook.”
Although Itsallinthegenes was bred to be a non pro horse for the Fappani family, the gelding showed a lot of talent. “This is his first outing. We think a lot of him, and he didn’t disappoint us today. We’re still trying to figure out what the plan is. My son Luca will show him at the High Roller in the Non Pro, and after that we’ll make up our mind if he is going to go to the futurity in the open or the non pro. He could go in both if he’s that good,” Fappani said.
For Fappani, the Tulsa Reining Classic presents an opportunity to put some pressure on the three-year-olds, while still keeping them comfortable. “Today was just a consistent run. I don’t think we did anything amazing, but that’s my goal the first time out. He was spot on. Everything I asked he was there for me.” He added, “As a three-year-old, I couldn’t ask for more.”
While there are some opportunities to show in futurities closer to home, Fappani prefers the Tulsa event. “I have been coming for the last few years, and there is a reason for that. This is a great place. The Silvas have sponsored this futurity and it’s a great event,” he said. “It’s an amazing arena. It’s big and nice, and there are plenty of places to get ready here. It’s one of my favorite, if not my favorite, for me to take my three-year-olds. It’s a great place for their first time out.”
Tying for second in the Hollywoodstinseltown Open Level 4 Futurity was Fernando Salgado and Shawn Flarida. Both riders piloted their horses to scores of 222, winning $7,772 each.
Shawn Flarida, the NRHA’s winningest rider, was at the reins of Surprized. Surprized, by Hang Ten Surprize and out of Snow White Dun It, is owned by Mike Vargo.
Fernando Salgado, rode Gunnabeabrightstar. Gunnabeabrightstar, by ARC Gunnabeabigstar out of Abbie Be Tuff, is owned by Big Star Partners.
It’s been a whirlwind month for 19-year-old Cade McCutcheon. He’s been a cast member on Paramount Network’s The Last Cowboy, which chronicled Cade and several notable riders’ preparation and path to the inaugural Run for a Million Event. At that event, just a few weeks ago, McCutcheon was crowned the co-champion, winning more than $300,000!
Still in his first year as a professional trainer, McCutcheon has also been preparing his aged event horses for the futurities and derbies, including Super Marioo, with who he won the Hollywoodstinseltown Open Futurity Level 3 and Level 2 Championship with a score of 221. McCutcheon and Super Marioo also placed in the Level 4, bringing total earnings to $12,868.
“He was solid and honest everywhere. He felt like a show horse. He might have been even more relaxed in the pen than he was outside. I’m really excited to see what the future holds for him,” McCutcheon said.
Super Marioo, by Gunnatrashya out of HA Chic A Tune, is owned by Freddie Brasfield. “Gunny Mathison let us buy him a few weeks ago. He didn’t really want to sell him, but I think I’m one of the only guys he’d sell him to just because he’s that good of a friend,” McCutcheon said. “I think he’s a pretty special horse. I just haven’t ridden him a ton, so there are still some spots that could use some work, but I think he’ll be a big-time player.”
McCutcheon says it’s the three-year-old’s natural talent that impressed him. “He’s a sweet horse with a lot of stop and turn. The rest of the stuff you can train, but you can’t teach that. He’s just got a lot of natural stop and turn, and that’s a big deal,” McCutcheon said. “I thank his owner Freddie and Gunny. They let me have the horse and that’s a great start.”
David and Bonnie Silva, owners of Hollywoodstinseltown, have strong ties with the McCutcheon family. In fact, Hollywoodstinseltown now stands at Tom McCutcheon Reining Horses. “Dave and Bonnie have been great supporters of the whole industry for as long as I can remember, and especially for my family. I rode a horse for them, too,” he said. “They’re great friends, great clients, and I’m so happy to have their support.”
Finishing in reserve for the Open Level 3 was Trevor Dare and Jerseys Baby Driver, who marked a 220, worth $3,583. Dare and Jerseys Baby Driver, by Yellow Jersey out of Wind Her Up Chic, also placed in the Level 4, worth an additional $4,758. Jerseys Baby Driver is owned by Janice Laney.
Taking reserve for the Open Level 1 was Trey Pool III and his horse RR Major Gunslinger with a 219. They also placed in the Level 3 and Level 4, bringing total earnings to $6,103. RR Major Gunslinger is by Gunnatrashya and out of Starbucks Destiny.
With a score of 218, Hava Vital and her horse Gunna Chic This won the Open Level 1, and placed in Levels 2 and 3, winning more than $3,100. Vital purchased the mare, by Magnum Chic Dream out of Gunna Joy, as a yearling, and rode her for a couple years. “I decided not to sell her so I’d have something to show, and obviously that was a good decision,” she said.
Gunna Chic This was Vital’s only futurity entry, but it paid off. “We went in and our first turnaround was so-so. She can usually turn better, but she was a little ahead of herself. We slowed down for the other side and she nailed it, and the rest was just fun,” Vital said.
Next up for Vital and Gunna Chic This will likely be the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity in Ardmore, and then the NRHA Futurity in December. “We’ll just be working to get it all together. I think she has everything. We just need to get more confident,” she said. “I thank my trainer, Gunny. He let me have her in the barn. He helps me a bunch and I appreciate every single moment.”
Sean Johnson and Snipen marked a 216 to win reserve in the Open Level 1. They also placed in Levels 2 and 3, for a cool paycheck of $1,487. Snipen, by Lil Joe Cash out of Whiz N Snap, is owned by Top Fuel LLC.