As the first draw of the Futurity Open entered the Bay Arena at the Reining By The Bay, the early morning fog began to recede over the hills in San Francisco. By the time the rider, Andrea Fappani, returned aboard his second of three mounts in the class, the arena glowed in the dazzling California sunshine – but not more than Designed To Spark (Jacs Electric Spark x Taris Designer Genes x Mr Boomerjac), who marked a 220.5 to win the Level 4 Championship.
“He’s a little bit immature, but I think he’s going to end up being a really nice horse,” Fappani said of the stallion. “He’s a very physical horse, and mentally, he’s very strong.”
This was the first time Fappani has shown his 3-year-olds this year. When performing with green horses, you “never know what you will get” in the show ring, he said. But there were no surprises at this year’s show for Fappani, who has garnered more than $5.3 million throughout his career, according to Equi-Stat.
“Everyone likes to win every run, but the main thing for me is the reaction of the horse. It’s important for me to see that what I’m doing outside is working inside for the horse,” Fappani explained of his strategy at early futurities. “That’s what I’m happiest about [with] my horses today; they went in and reacted to all of my cues the same as outside, regardless of the crowds.”
Designed To Spark, owned by Rancho Oso Rio LLC, jumpstarted his Equi-Stat record with a $10,627 paycheck. He will take what he learned and head to the High Roller Reining Classic in Las Vegas next.
The Reserve title went to Fappani, as well, who rode Diamonds In My Genes (Whizkey N Diamonds x Electric Genes x Jacs Electric Spark) to a 219.5. The stallion, owned by Rhodes River Ranch, garnered $8,992 for the title.
Futurity Levels 3 & 2 Open
The Futurity Levels 3 and 2 Open were won my Mike Boyle aboard the Gunnastrashya son Donttakeurgunstotown, who is out of the Playgun mare Gunnalena. The duo, who hadn’t competed before aside from a few practice sessions, marked an impressive 219 amidst a competitive field.
“You never know how it’s going to go on the Futurity horses, but he was right there for me. I’m very happy with my run,” said Boyle, of Ione, California. “He’s a big horse, and a big stopper!”
“I like this horse’s attitude; he’s quiet, but he has the big maneuvers, which is special for a show horse,” added Boyle, who had prior lifetime earnings of nearly $400,000 since his first check posted to Equi-Stat in 1993. He added $3,919 to that total with his wins riding Donttakeurgunstotown.
The stallion belongs to Boyle’s niece, Kelly Keenan, who is also his assistant trainer. The plan going forward is for her to take over the reins in upcoming events, like the High Roller Reining Classic.
The Level 3 Open Reserve title was split between two horses that each marked a 217.5. Mike McEntire and Pale Faced Whiz (Pale Face Dunnit x Ms Maggie Whiz x Topsail Whiz), owned by A4L Equine LLC, as well as Pedro Baiao aboard Bee Whizz (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Cee Bee Shine x Shining Spark), owned by Martin and Kim Muehlstaetter, picked up checks for $1,804.
Gunnshine (Gunnatrashya x JDF Shining Anna x Shining Spark), ridden by Jackson Porath to a 216, earned the Level 2 Open Reserve Championship for owner Saddle Horn Farms LLC. Along with a fourth-place tie in Level 3 and a sixth-place tie in Level 4, the stallion amassed $4,584.