Stone Cold Leader tops QHRAI SSA Futurity Trials
A total of 40 horses vied for a spot among the top 10 to advance to the upcoming $100,000 Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (QHRAI) Stallion Service Auction (SSA) Futurity final set for Saturday, Aug. 26 at Indiana Grand. It took five trials to determine the front runner for the final and Stone Cold Leader with Rolando Pina earned that honor, winning the fourth of five trials in a time of :17.727 seconds. The program was the third of six all-Quarter Horse racing programs at Indiana Grand for 2017.
Starting from post one in the eight-horse lineup, Stone Cold Leader was a step slow out of the starting gate but quickly recovered. By the time the field was halfway through the 350-yard dash, the son of Brookstone Bay was in contention, pulling away for a half-length win in the final strides. SR Shambles and James Flores were close the entire way for second followed by Be Afraid and Danny Martinez who regrouped after shifting wide at the start from the outside to finish third.
Stone Cold Leader paid $4.60, $2.60, and $2.10 as the race favorite. The win was his fourth consecutive trip to the winner’s circle for Owner Patrick Richardson of South Carolina and Trainer Erin Thompson. The freshman gelding was purchased out of the Indiana QHRAI Speed Sale last fall for $10,500 and has now pulled in earnings of nearly $120,000.
The second fastest trial was won by a horse that broke his maiden in style. Beach Treat, owned and trained by Ron Brown, rallied home under Harold Collins in a time of :17.839 seconds. The Escondido Beach gelding soared to the front and never looked back, posting a half-length win over race favorite WRs Quick Secret and Berkley Packer. JJ James and Juan Pulido finished third.
“He (Beach Treat) left good and I switched to the left hand and he took off,” said Collins, who was aboard for the second time. “He let up a little so I switched back to the right and it was over right then. This is a real nice horse.”
Beach Treat paid $12.20, $4.40, $3.20 as a mild surprise winner in the race. He was making his fourth career start. It was the first time the sorrel gelding had tried 350 yards, which proved to be a winning ticket for him.
“You can see in the past performances that he’s getting better with every start,” said Brown. “He’s a big horse and the more distance, the better. I’m really looking forward to next year. He’s gonna love 400 (yards).”
The top 10 qualifiers for the QHRAI SSA, with jockey and time, includes: Stone Cold Leader (Rolando Pina, :17.727); SR Shambles (James Flores, :17.798); Beach Treat (Harold Collins, :17.838); Dicey Dream (Berkley Packer, :17.882); Be Afraid (Danny Martinez, :17.923); WRs Quick Secret (Berkley Packer, :17.938); Rockys Candy Shop (Berkley Packer, :17.942); Twisted Lil Secret (Rodney Prescott, :17.972); DNA Bells Bay (Juan Pulido, :18.040); and HQH Fancy Pants ( James Flores, :18.060). Trainer Randy Smith, who saddled 10 over the five trials for the Futurity, had four qualify for the final (Dicey Dream, WRs Quick Secret, Rockys Candy Shop, DNA Bells Bay). Trainer Jeannette Hoover had two advance to the final (SR Shambles and HQH Fancy Pants).
The QHRAI SSA Futurity final will be one of two stakes on the program Saturday, Aug. 26, joining the $50,000 QHRAI SSA Derby. Three all-Quarter Horse racing nights are still slated for 2017 with the next one set for Saturday, Sept. 16.