It really wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of which one in the 11th running of the $186,000 Gordon Mobley Futurity Final at Indiana Grand Tuesday, July 21. With four in the final, Trainer Tony Cunningham had the top three favorites in the field of 10, finishing one-two with Stone Lake and Beach Diva, respectively. Time for the 300-yard dash was :15.623.
Starting from the outside post 10, Stone Lake wasn’t quick out of the gate, but stablemate Beach Diva was for jockey Giovani Vazquez-Gomez. The pint-sized daughter of Escondido Beach surged out of the gate on top and was the one to catch the entire way. Beach Diva had basically put the field away, with the exception of Stone Lake, who was gaining ground and momentum with every stride. L. D. “Daniel” Martinez timed the finish perfectly, grabbing the win by a head right at the wire over Beach Diva. Mitey Persuasive and Cesar Esqueda finished third, just a nose ahead of another Cunningham trained finalist ZZ Stones Ablazing with Sergio Ramirez aboard.
“He (Stone Lake) broke a little slow but he started running faster and faster,” said Martinez, who was confident the photo finish would be in his favor. “Every step he took he was just going faster and faster. It’s very fun to ride a horse like this.”
Bred by Sheri Miller, owner of Escondido Beach, Stone Lake is now three for three for his connections, who purchased him out of the QHRAI Speed Sale last fall for $15,000. His earnings now topple over the $119,000 mark.
“Anytime you are in a field of horses like this and get on the front end like that, it’s a great feeling,” said Cunningham. “Everyone was here to run today. These owners (Brad and Patti Marshall) are great people and so good to work for. I’m really glad he’s doing so well for them.”
Cunningham was equally as impressed with runner up Beach Diva, who is owned by Miller.
“I thought she (Beach Diva) could win the whole thing today coming into the race,” said Cunningham. “She’s a gutty little horse. Anytime you can run one-two in a race like this, you are very blessed.”
Cunningham did note they will take a short break with Stone Lake and skip the next stakes race at Indiana Grand. The chestnut son of Escondido Beach will skip the QHRAI Stallion Service Auction Futurity with the trials on the next all-Quarter Horse day Saturday, Aug. 8. He will return to action for the Leader of the Class in mid-September.
Live racing continues through Wednesday, Nov. 18 with action held Monday through Thursday beginning at 2:20 p.m. Three more Saturday programs are slated for all-Quarter Horse days Aug. 8, Oct. 23 and Oct. 24. The Aug. 8 program will begin at 10 a.m.