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On the morning of the 2012 NRHA Futurity Open finals Casey Deary passed by five time Futurity champion Shawn Flarida. Deary’s mare,
Americasnextgunmodel, and Flarida’s stallion, Yankee Gun, were tied for the highest composite score—447 points—after two qualifying gorounds, making them favorites going into the clean-slate finals later in the day.


“What do you think about scratching your horse?” Deary jokingly said to Flarida.


“You don’t need me to scratch,” said Flarida earnestly.


Boy was Flarida ever right. That evening during the second section of the open finals, Deary, an NRHA Professional from Weatherford, Texas, made the ride of his career on Americasnextgunmodel (Gunner x Cee Dun It Do It by Hollywood Dun It). From the first big sliding stop to the break-neck speed of their large circles to the perfectly timed lead changes at center to the even bigger slides to end their run, the two gave a textbook demonstration of flawless execution. Their efforts drew thunderous applause from the crowd at the Jim Norick Arena at Oklahoma
State Fair Park, the Futurity’s home in Oklahoma City from November 22 through Saturday’s finale on December 1.


Their score of 228 from a hitherto stingy panel of judges pushed the pair to a 4.5 point lead over frontrunner NRHA Professional Ruben Vandorp, Aubrey, Texas, and his ride Legacy In Lights (Hit The Lights x Doc Berry Miss). As Deary cooled his horse in the warm-up pen, he was mobbed by well-wishers that included a veritable who’s who of top NRHA Professionals and former Futurity winners. Like Flarida earlier, they seemed to sense that Deary was about to be anointed.


As the remaining seven riders flew through the pattern in the waning half hour of the competition, only one rider, Tim McQuay of Tioga, Texas, and the stallion Gunners Tinseltown (Gunner x Miss Tinseltown), even came close to challenging Deary. With a score of 225 points, even McQuay, an NRHA Hall of Famer had to bow to the 31-year-old Deary and white-masked, mare who Deary affectionately calls “Lily.”


“I had a lot of confidence in the mare the whole time,” said Deary as he looked back over the grueling 10-day-long competition. “On October 10, my wife (Nicole) was doing her daily Bible study. She got a picture in her mind that I would win this and she wrote that down. She didn’t share that with me until the night we left for Oklahoma City. It gave me confidence. I had a lot of faith in what my wife said.”


In a twist of fate, both Lily and McQuay’s reserve champion horse Gunners Tinseltown got their start in life at Silva Reining Horses, the breeding farm of McQuay’s longtime client, friend, and new NRHA Million Dollar Owner, David Silva Sr. and his wife, Bonnie. Silva kept the colt, slotting it into McQuay’s training program as one of his own candidates for the 2012 Futurity.


Meanwhile, the filly was started at Silva’s facility in Pilot Point, Texas, under trainer Alain Calbrix and then passed to another resident trainer, NRHA Professional Brad Giesbrecht, to prepare for sale. Silva offered her up for sale at the 2011 NRHA/Markel Insurance Futurity Prospect Sale, but she was withdrawn from the sale when she failed to bring Silva’s minimum price.


“She was very broke, a special horse, and I was surprised when she didn’t sell,” remembers Silva. After the sale, Deary approached Silva and struck a private deal for his client Dana Conrad of Weatherford, Texas. He felt that the horse would be ideal for his program and hungered to take a chance on the mare that other potential buyers overlooked. Rather than be dissuaded by her gender, as many trainers might have been, Deary felt he could make a winner out of her.


“Typically, stud colts sell for the highest prices but I get along better with mares,” Deary said. “She was my pick of the 2-yearolds at the sale. She is obviously a very attractive mare and her pedigree is a highly-successful cross.”


Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a more prestigious and impressive pedigree—on both sides. Gunner is an NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire while Hollywood Dun It, the sire of Lily’s dam Cee Dun It Do It, is second on the all-time leading sire list and is an NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire.


“The mare is extremely talented and she has a lot of feel. She is also a little quirky but she’s always been great at the hard things. She taught me a lot about patience. I had to challenge her at her own pace,” Deary said.


Earlier in the year, Deary and the mare stepped out for the first time at the NRHA Cowtown Classic in Fort Worth, Texas, where they marked 222 points. Despite a poorly-executed lead change, the score was still good for third place in the Level 4 Open. Then, in September, the pair triumphed at the High Roller Reining Classic Futurity in Las Vegas, Nevada, claiming the Level 4 Open win with a score of 226.5. The victory at the predictive event positioned Lily as one of the favorites going into the NRHA Open Futurity, reining’s richest competition.

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