The third time was the charm for Gabriel Diano, of Purcell, Oklahoma, who won his first Congress championship title this year after having competed three times – in 2014, 2017 and 2018 – at the prestigious Ohio show. Diano rode Renda Gunna Shine (by Gunnatrashya), a stallion owned by Maria Buey Arietti from the South American country of Paraguay, to win the Futurity Level 3 Open with a 219 that rewarded the pair with earnings of $12,398.
The Congress was the second futurity the stallion, whose owner nicknamed him “Maluma” after the Columbian singer, has competed in. Diano, a native of Uruguay who trains out of his Gabriel Diano Performance Horses, said during the preliminary go-round the noise and all of the people did excite the stallion a little. They did not have the run he had hoped to have.
In the finals, though, Diano said the horse performed much better.
“He gave me 100 percent, so I am really happy with him,” he added.
The stallion tried really hard in every single maneuver, and everything went well except for one stop. The ground didn’t help much, Diano said.
“He tried harder in the other two stops and did good,” Diano added. “I’m really, really happy with the way he showed out there. And, I’m feeling happy with the timing, too, because we have the big [National Reining Horse Association (NRHA)] Futurity coming.”
Diano, who rode Wimpy Chic to win the Levels 3 and 2 Open championships at the 2014 NRHA Futurity and whose lifetime rider earnings totaled more than $467,000 before the Congress, planned to take Maluma to the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity in Ardmore, but not to show – he will just school the horse in preparation for the Futurity.
He is especially proud of the Congress win because the stallion is out of one of his good broodmares, Shiney Sushi (by Shining Spark). She has her own bankroll worth more than $62,000 and has produced earners, mostly in the reined cow horse, of more than $126,000.
“It [the win] is special because this is the first generation of horses in the show pen from my breeding program, so it means a lot!” Diano said. “He was born and raised here on my place.”
It’s Maluma’s attitude and try that Diano likes best about the stallion.
“Everything you ask of him, he’ll give you 100 percent,” he said. “He’s not a horse that will try to do less than what you expect him to. Sometimes he misses [makes a mistake] because he tries too hard, but he’s one of those horses that as soon as he understands what you want from him, he’ll give you 100 percent – every time. I think those kind [of horses] are special.
“If we don’t rush him, I think we are going to have a super, super horse for the Futurity.”
After the big show, Diano is hoping he will get to keep Maluma in training and show him in next year’s derbies.
“As a trainer, I would love to have him [for the derbies], but you never know if they [the owners] will sell them or not. Last year, we sold every single one of my [upcoming] derby horses, so for the  derbies I need to keep one of my 3-year-olds.”
MMB Spook Gotta Girl (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Coronas Major x Major Vaquero), a mare bred by Luis Fernando Simas, of Brazil, and owned by Giovanni Cioli, of Italy, was shown by Francesco Martinotti to the Futurity Level 3 Open Reserve Championship and a $7,547 check. The pair also won the Futurity Level 2 Open Championship.