Martinez horses dominate in QHRAI SSA Futurity Trials
It was a great night for Trainer Ricardo Martinez as horses from his barn won three of the four trials of the Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (QHRAI) Stallion Service Auction (SSA) Futurity Saturday, Aug. 11 at Indiana Grand. Pritty, Nacho Binez and First Habits were all trial winners and recorded the top three times out of 33 entered in the Futurity trials.
Pritty rounded out the trials as the quickest on the night. After being slammed hard in the Heartland Futurity Final in her last start, Pritty rebounded and held her own out of the gate this time. Although there was mild bumping, she was able to use quick footing and get out in front of the field by open lengths, completing the 350-yard dash in a time of :17.568 seconds. With Yordanis Amaro aboard, Pritty, a daughter of Coronado Cartel, won by two and one-half lengths over Famous Cucuy and Alejandro Luna. Bully On the Beach and Fernando Fonseca-Soto finished third.
Owned by Miguel Lechuga, Pritty is now three for four lifetime, and completed a training triple for Martinez on the night. The chestnut filly will head into the $169,274 QHRAI SSA Futurity as the favorite.
The second fastest qualifier of the QHRAI SSA Futurity trials was the Martinez-trained Nacho Binez. Starting from the inside post one in the second of four trials, once again, he got a clean break from the gate and got an early lead for Sergio Ramirez, holding that advantage all the way to the wire in :17.761 seconds. Coronado Quiksilver and Rodney Prescott were closing in late in the race in the center of the track for second over Daddys Moe and Jose Beltran for third.
Nacho Binez earned his second win in four outings for 2018. Martinez is also the owner and breeder of the gelding. The two-year-old is the son of Martinez’s stallion Habits Secret, who is having an impressive first year as a stallion in the Hoosier State. He is part of the program at Dr. Roger Beam’s Midwest Equine and Veterinary Hospital in Trafalgar, Ind.
Nacho Binez had not run since early June. Martinez explained the absence from the track.
“He won his trial for the Gordon Mobley Futurity, but he didn’t qualify for the final,” explained Martinez. “There were no races for him so we had to work him out of the gates last week because it had been so long, he had lost his date. He’s the type of horse you have to work so he won’t get rusty. We had to take a little rust off of him with his work out of the gate.”
Another son of Habits Secret turned in a win and the third fastest time of the trials as First Habits and Ramirez rallied home winners in the first trial for the QHRAI SSA Futurity. Little Haywood and Luis Guerrero had the early advantage, tracked closely by First Habits from the center of the track before the gelding took over to win by three-quarters of a length. Wrs Valentino recovered from a rough break to finish second with Beltran aboard followed by Shez Our Prize and Cesar Esqueda for third.
“This is one of those horses you have to keep busy,” said Martinez. “If you don’t, he’s hard to keep straight. He’s been like that since a baby.”
The energetic First Habits is owned and bred by Gerardo Corral. He now has two wins in six starts with both wins coming at Indiana Grand this season. Both he and Nacho Binez began their careers on the West Coast at Los Alamitos before shipping to the Midwest to Martinez. Martinez credits the trainer there with the success he’s seeing now from both horses.
“Both horses were broke out there, and they did a phenomenal job with both of them,” added Martinez. “We give all the credit to them.”
The third trial on the night was won by the fourth fastest as the big Stoneburner from the Randy Smith barn prevailed. The son of Brimmstone has a big stride and it takes him a while to get going, but once he’s at full speed, he’s hard to stop. Ridden by Jose Beltran, Stoneburner got the advantage midway through the 350-yard dash and kept going on the inside, picking up the victory by three-quarters of a length in :17.824 seconds over Abe and Rogelio Romero-Diaz. Packin Secrets and Sergio Ramirez came running hard on the outside at the finish to grab third.
Stoneburner is owned by Gerald Keesling. The big gelding is now three for four at Indiana Grand this season and had not run since the Gordon Mobley Futurity in mid June.
“He broke his maiden and after the Mobley Futurity, we had to sit on him,” said Smith. “He’s a pretty solid horse and he’s easy to deal with. I look at him like a seven foot sixth grade basketball player. He has trouble breaking and getting started but one he gets going, he’s hard to stop.”
Stoneburner is one of four from the Smith barn that will return for the QHRAI SSA Futurity Final Saturday, Aug. 25. Smith also qualified Coronados Quiksilver, WRS Valentino and Daddys Moe as top 10 finalists for the race. Between Smith and Martinez, they will have seven of the 10 horses in the final.
The top 10 qualifiers for the QHRAI SSA Futurity, with jockey and in order of fastest times, includes: Pritty (Yordanis Amaro, :17.568); Nacho Binez (Sergio Ramirez, :17.761); First Habits (Sergio Ramirez, :17.823); Stoneburner (Jose Beltran, :17.824); Coronados Quiksilver (Rodney Prescott, :17.851); WRS Valentino (Jose Beltran, :17.938); Famous Cucuy (Alejandro Luna, :17.941); Abe (Rogelio Romero-Diaz, :17.942); Daddys Moe (Jose Beltran, :17.964); and Hopeful Success (Samuel Mendez, :17.986).