Tag: tony cunningham

Daddys Moe and Jockey Jose Beltran turned in the quickest time in three trials to set up the $100,000 Jaguar Rocket Futurity Final slated for Saturday, June 16. A total of 27 horses vied for a spot among the top 10 to return for the final.

It was a big night for Jose Beltran, who won two of the three Jaguar Rocket Futurity trials for Trainer Randy Smith, including the fastest qualifier Daddy’s Moe. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Daddys Moe was the dominant force of the second trial of the night. The Carters Cartel gelding rolled out of the gate with speed and never looked back, fending off a fast closing Rarely A Tres and Cesar Esqueda for the win by a margin of a neck in a time of :15.500. Yadi 1 and Aron Hunt also closed well to finish third.

Trained by Randy Smith, Daddys Moe earned his first career win in only his second start. He is owned by his breeder, Rose Bode.

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Owner-trainer Tony Cunningham has a long history of winning races in Indiana. The Clarksville, Mich. native has competed in every year of pari-mutuel Quarter Horse racing in the state of Indiana since its inception in 1997. For the second straight year, Cunningham takes home the title as the 2017 Leading Quarter Horse Owner at Indiana Grand.

 

Tony Cunningham was presented with his second straight Leading Quarter Horse Owner title during the final day of racing at Indiana Grand. Rachel McLaughlin, racing broadcast production manager, made the presentation. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Cunningham had 10 winners in 58 starts as an owner with purses of more than $129,000. He carried a 41 percent “in the money” average during the season that stretched from April through October. Cunningham also finished second in the leading Quarter Horse trainer standings, earning 27 wins and more than $525,000 as a trainer.

 “It goes to the support of the team,” said Cunningham. “They are working hard to get better every year. We are finished for the year now. We will go to the farm and break babies and get ready for next season.”

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First Cucuy and jockey Jose Davila turned in the fastest trial to lead the way to the $75,000 final of the Harley Greene Derby set for Saturday, June 3. The race will be part of the first of six all-Quarter Horse racing nights at Indiana Grand for the 120-day racing season. First Cucuy topped the list with a time of :17.784 seconds in the second of three $5,000 trials Friday, May 19 to set up the final.

First Cucuy and Jose Davila head into the $75,000 Harley Greene Derby final Saturday, June 3 as the fastest qualifier. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

It was all First Cucuy and Jose Davila from start to finish. The duo broke from the inside post one and had a clear path the entire way to reach the finish line in an easy three-quarter length win over First Special Jess and L.D. Martinez. Kid Cartel and Cesar Esqueda finished third.

First Cucuy, a surprise winner, paid $13.00, $7.00, $3.60 across the board. The three-year-old son of Jazz Be First is owned and trained by Sacramento Chavez.

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Indiana Grand’s 2016 Leading Owner Tony Cunningham picked up where he left off at the conclusion of the 2016 season at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. The Clarksville, Mich. native finished one-two in the first Quarter Horse race of the season Tuesday, April 18, scoring the win with A Splash of Royalty in the final race of the day, which was dedicated to the sprinters.

A Splash of Royalty and Giovanni Vazquez-Gomez got the win in the final step of the first Quarter Horse race of 2017. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post eight, A Splash of Royalty didn’t show quick speed from the gate, but quickly got into gear for jockey Giovanni Vazquez-Gomez just a few steps into the 300-yard dash. The four-year-old gelding found his best stride midway through the race and began closing the gap on the race leader Rhea Fire and Cesar Esqueda, also trained by Cunningham. In the final step of the race, A Splash of Royalty got a nose in front to take home the top prize over Rhea Fire, giving Cunningham a one-two finish in the first Quarter Horse race of the season. Sheza Rare Treasure and Reynier Arrieta rounded out the trifecta.

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Tony Cunningham has been among Indiana’s top trainers for more than a decade. In 2016, he added ownership as a successful category as well, winning his first Leading Quarter Horse Owner title.

 

Tony Cunningham earned his first Leading Quarter Horse Owner honor for his success during the 2016 racing season. Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing, left, and Kevin Greely, director of racing, made the presentation to Cunningham. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Tony Cunningham earned his first Leading Quarter Horse Owner honor for his success during the 2016 racing season. Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing, left, and Kevin Greely, director of racing, made the presentation to Cunningham. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Cunningham won races with 13 horses that he owned during the season, nearly half of his training wins for the meet. In addition to his success in the owner ranks, he finished second in the Quarter Horse standings with 27 wins.

 A native of Michigan, Cunningham has competed in all 20 seasons of pari-mutuel Quarter Horse racing in the state of Indiana, which began in 1997. He earned a leading Quarter Horse trainer title at Hoosier Park prior to both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing moving full time to Indiana Grand in 2013.

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Powerfull Stone and Leading Quarter Horse Jockey Cesar Esqueda rallied home to win the fourth running of the $35,520 Speed Sale Stakes at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino Friday, Aug. 12. The duo covered the 350-yard dash in a time of :17.254 seconds, marking the first career stakes win for Esqueda.

Powerfull Stone gave jockey Cesar Esqueda his first career stakes win Friday, Aug. 12 in the Speed Sale Stakes. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Powerfull Stone gave jockey Cesar Esqueda his first career stakes win Friday, Aug. 12 in the Speed Sale Stakes. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post seven in the nine-horse lineup, Powerfull Stone broke alertly and was among the front runners from the start. The two-year-old daughter of Brimmstone used the center of the track to find a winning path to the finish line, easily defeating her opponents by three-quarters of a length as the favorite of the field. Sheza Classy Bay and Berkley Packer finished second over Kids Bright Image and Leonel Bolanos for third.

Powerfull Stone was making only her fourth career start for Tony Cunningham, who owns and trains the Indiana sired filly. Although she’s been close in every outing, she could never quite land the top spot in the end.

“She’s (Powerfull Stone) been a little green in her previous starts,” said Cunningham, ranked second on the list of leading Quarter Horse trainers at Indiana Grand this season. “The first three times she was all over the track. We put blinkers on today and that seemed to really help her. She ran very well today.”

Powerfull Stone paid $4.40, $3.00, $2.40 across the board. She increased her career bankroll to more than $30,000 for the win.

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A fast closing filly and top Indiana two-year-old from 2015 were victorious in the two trials for the upcoming $75,000 Harley Greene Derby set for Saturday, June 4. Bella Estrella and Cristian Esqueda and Beach Bum Eddie ridden by Cesar Esqueda made it an “Esqueda Double” in the two trials held Friday, May 20 at Indiana Grand.

Bella Estrella drew the outside post seven in the seven-horse lineup for the first division of the Harley Greene Derby trials. The lightly raced three-year-old daughter of Way Down Town broke out of the gate toward the back and trailed the field as heavy hitters Megatron Harry and Rodney Prescott and My Louisiana Rod and Berkley Packer dominated the top two spots during the 350-yard dash. Midway through the race, Bella Estrella found another gear and began surging on the leaders, timing her move just right to secure the win by one-half length at the finish over My Louisiana Rod. Daybreak Dash and Shanley Jackson won the battle for third over Megatron Harry.

“This is the first time I have ridden her in a race,” said Cristian. “I worked her one time at home and she trained really well, but we didn’t think she would be able to go that far. She proved us wrong tonight.”

Owned by Almanza Gustavo Jr., the homebred Bella Estrella was making her first start at Indiana Grand and her fourth overall, starting three times over the winter at Hialeah. The Indiana sired filly is trained by Julio Almanza and was bred by Almanza’s brother, Rolando.

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