Futural earned his first graded stakes win Saturday, upsetting the field in the $150,000 San Bernardino Handicap (gr. II) on a sloppy track at Santa Anita. The win is the second in a row for the 5-year-old son of Future Storm, who won the listed Tokyo City Cup Handicap in March. Futural completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.87 under jockey Garrett Gomez.
Lesters Boy broke slowly, then rushed up to lead into the first turn. Futural began to pressure the leader from the outside on the backstretch, with Irisheyesareflying on the rail in third. Approaching the second turn, Tribunal moved into contention while wide and continued his run on the turn. Futural moved past Lesters Boy as they approached the stretch, with Irisheyesareflying stuck behind horse on the rail. Irisheyesareflying finally found racing room at the top of the stretch, but too late to catch Futural, who won by 1 1/2 lengths at the wire. Irisheyesareflying finished second, four lengths ahead of Tribunal. Lesters Boy and Coyote Lakes completed the order of finish.
"We tried not to make the lead with him too early because he acts like he's got a little 'wait' in him - he wants to wait on other horses," said Gomez. "At the same time, as you're sitting there, he doesn't want to go on either. He's a funny little horse. Today, I was kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place - I didn't know if I wanted to go ahead and go on with him or sit there and wait. When he was eager to go on about the four and-a-half (furlong pole), I let him place himself where he wanted to be. I said, 'Lets's go, let's put this gray horse away ,' and maybe that will put his mind on running. He made the lead, then gave me a little of that 'wait', I hit him left-handed then he got to diggin'."
Futural, out of the Dixieland Band mare Twigazuri, earned $90,000 for the win, his sixth in 17 career starts. He is trained by Craig Dollase and was bred in Florida by Harry T. Mangurian Jr.
Owned by the Miller Trust and Weitz, Futural returned $17, $6.20, and $2.80. Irisheyesareflying paid $3.60 and $2.40 and completed the $1 exacta worth $24.10. Tribunal was worth $2.60 to show. (Chart, Equibase