"I can't believe I actually won the Derby in Italy!" were the first words National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) professional and past NRHA Non-Pro World Champion Cira Baeck said after posting the top score, a 224.5 in the Italian Reining Horse Association (IRHA)/NRHA Derby Level 4 Open.
Making the win even sweeter was the fact that Baeck was riding Whizasunnysailor BB (Topsail Whiz x Walla Walla Sunshine x Shining Spark), owned by Ruediger Diedenhofen and bred by Eifel Gold Ranch Baeck of Beglium.
Reserve honors in the Level 4 Open division, a half-point behind the winners, went to Rosanne Sternberg's Ebony Spook (Smart Spook x Ebony Whiz x Topsail Whiz) between the reins of NRHA Million Dollar Rider Bernard Fonck.
Winning the Derby Level 3 Open Championship with a score of 218.5 was Mirjam Giraudini riding her husband, Andrea Stillo's, Spin N Wimp (Wimpys Little Step x Spinning Beauty x Shining Spark). "I'm thrilled!", said the all-around Italian trainer. "This will be the last show of the season here in Italy, as my husband and I will be relocating to Tioga, Texas, at the end of this month. Spin N Wimp is actually leaving for the U.S. tomorrow morning, so this is a great way to say, 'Arrivederci!'"
The Reserve Championship was claimed by Davide Brighenti riding My Good Gun (Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner] x My Paint Wagon x Great Pine King) for owner Francesco Bonadeo. The pair scored a 217.5.
It took a run-off to determine who would take home the Derby Level 2 Open title, following a three-way tie between Giovanni Masi riding Stefano Scardina's Smart Whiz Del Maso (Easy Otie Whiz x Playin Dress Up x Smart Chic Olena), Roberto Prevosti and Heza Gunner and Dario Carmignani riding Dun Ok Dun. Carmignani posted the highest score, 219.5, after coming back into the pen on Sergio Felici's horse by Okie Dun It Too and out of Tari Miss Badger (by Pepyseco). Masi settled for Reserve honors along with Prevosti, who also took home the Level 1 Championship for Liborio Nicotra, owner of the stallion by Gunner and out of Sliden Like A Winner (by Slide Me To The Bar).