Ricotta Reins in a Million

Marco Ricotta Marco Ricotta Photo by NRHA Press Release | Carolyn Simancik
July 09, 2024

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is proud to announce NRHA Professional Marco Ricotta as the newest NRHA Million Dollar Rider. Originally from Tuscany, Italy, Ricotta joins an elite group of reining professionals who have achieved this milestone in their NRHA career.

Ricotta’s passion for reining began when he would ride a scooter to the barn at 14 years old. That passion led him to become an NRHA Professional, a role in which Ricotta has consistently impressed audiences with his talent and horsemanship. Throughout his career, he has ridden numerous champions and claimed victories across various NRHA divisions.
Ricotta’s impressive resume includes recent success on Savage Love (SG Frozen Enterprize x Miss Whizzletown), a horse that holds special meaning to the Ricotta family. The Ricotta-bred, -owned, and -nominated 2020 stallion is out of a mare nominated and owned by Ricotta’s wife, Jenny. Miss Whizzletown’s NRHA Lifetime Earnings (LTE) of $104,940 were earned exclusively with the Ricottas at the reins.

“I came from Italy, so I was dreaming, and those dreams came true,” said Marco. “To be a little trainer, this means a lot. I say all the time, ‘We got lucky.’ We raised this mare [Miss Whizzletown] from day one, and she was an orphan. We both showed the mare, and we were successful, and she produced some babies, and it all looks like it is working. Overall, they are all show horses and winning, and that doesn’t happen often.”
Savage Love, known as ‘Lucifer’ because he is devilishly handsome, and Marco earned ninth place in the Level (L) 4 Open and third place in the L3 at the 2023 NRHA Futurity. Recently, the pair scored a 225.5 to finish third at the 100X L4 Open Cowtown Classic Stakes to help push Marco over the NRHA Million Dollar Rider mark. His ability to build successful partnerships with the horses he breeds, trains, and competes with, including Savage Love, has been instrumental in his achievements and makes the journey even more meaningful to him.
“With all the prize money coming up lately, becoming a million-dollar rider is something you can achieve quicker than compared to the past. I am old school and achieved it check by check,” said Marco. “With Savage Love, I don’t have the clients to provide me what I need to compete at this level compared to the larger trainers who are overloaded with horses, so we decided to keep him, and it has worked out.”

Throughout his career, Marco’s top finishes are:
    •    2009 NRHA Derby L4 Open Reserve Champion on Hollywoodstinseltown earning $33,848
    •    2009 National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC) L3 Open Champion on Hollywoodstinseltown earning $28,854
    •    2010 NRBC L4 Open fourth place on Hollywoodstinseltown earning $39,000
    •    2017 NRHA Futurity L3 Co-Champion on Shine Plum Shine earning $21,946
    •    2023 NRHA Futurity L4 Open ninth place on Savage Love earning $37,237
    •    2023 NRHA Futurity L3 Open Futurity third place on Savage Love earning $26,190

NRHA congratulates Marco Ricotta on this well-deserved accomplishment. We look forward to seeing his continued success in the reining industry. To learn more about Marco’s trip to the million, check out the September issue of the NRHA Reiner Magazine.

By NRHA Press Release