Walla Walla Whiz goes from veterinary hospital to NRHA Derby win

May 21st, 2007

Walla Walla Whiz won the National Reining Horse Association Derby with 231.5 points on Saturday, May 19, just days after he was released from a veterinary hospital near Oklahoma City.

“He’s tough,” said Shawn Flarida (pictured), who rides the 4-year-old son of Topsail Whiz for Arcese Quarter Horses, Weatherford, TX. “He’s got more heart than most horses you ever dream of having.”

On Monday, May 14, Walla Walla Whiz was rushed to Oakridge Equine Hospital in Edmond, OK with colic symptoms. “By the time we left the barn, it took three men to carry him to the trailer,” said Flarida. “He was really, really sick. They told me it could be life threatening.”

For the next 24 hours, the stallion received intravenous fluids and medication, and was released from the hospital on Tuesday evening, May 15, the day before Derby first go-round competition. Attending veterinarians Kevin Kersh and Alan Donnell assured Flarida it would be safe for Walla Walla Whiz to compete, although he might not be up to form.

“I told Shawn to prepare himself because Walla Walla Whiz might not perform to the usual level, but there was no risk of long-term damage,” Kersh said. “For him to bounce back and go from looking as bad as he did to performing that well is remarkable. He’s an incredibly tough horse.”

The Derby win was worth $50,000 for Flarida and Walla Walla Whiz. Big Chex To Cash, sired by Nu Chex To Cash and ridden by Andrea Fappani for 23 Partnership, San Marcos, CA, claimed the reserve championship and $40,293 with 225.5 points.