Darling Farms’ Hold Air Hostage, a $40,000 supplemental nominee to enter the trials to the Grade 1, $1,150,000 Rainbow Derby, has an excellent opportunity to earn that payment after racing to the fastest Rainbow Derby qualifying time on Sunday afternoon.
The Rainbow Derby winner will receive $483,000.
The horses with the 10-fastest times from the 11 trials advance to 440-yard Rainbow Derby on July 22. The horses with the next 10-fastest times have preference to run in the $100,000 Corona Cartel on July 22.
All of the trials were contested on a wet-fast and sealed track at 440 yards.
Hold Air Hostage easily handled his rivals in the fifth trial. He quickly started from the gate and had a widening lane for his run to the wire. He extended his advantage with each stride and crossed the finish line two-and-one-quarter lengths in front of Revengerr. The Apollitical Jess-sired gelding was timed in :21.414 for the easy win over the quarter mile. Rodrigo Sigala Vallejo was the rider.
Trainer Judd Kearl had wanted owner Dan Darling to supplement Hold Air Hostage when he was racing at Remington Park this spring.
“He (Darling) said that Hold Air Hostage had to pay his way to Ruidoso,” said Kearl. “Then he won the Heritage Place Derby so I said to him, ‘We’re going to Ruidoso.’”
Hold Air Hostage did more than just “pay his way to Ruidoso,” he made a statement in the Grade 2, $297,000 Heritage Place Derby. Much like his Rainbow Derby trial, he went to the front and handled his rivals by one-and-three-quarter lengths.
The gelding showed his potential before the Heritage Place Derby. He won a conditioned allowance race and was a close second in his Heritage Place Derby trial. He then took care of business in the Heritage Place Derby and headed to Ruidoso.
The Kearl-trained Duponte — owned by Bobby Cox with Homero and Kristen Paredes — was the other supplemental nominee and also made the Rainbow Derby finals. He raced in the first trial and cruised to a one-and-one-half length win over odds-on favorite Tough To Bee, who finished in a dead heat for the win in the Grade 1, $800,000 Ruidoso Derby in his previous start.
Duponte, a son of American Runaway, posted the eighth-fastest qualifying time with Vallejo aboard.
Bred by Cox, Duponte showed his class last year when he won the Grade 3, $268,000 Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity and the Grade 1, $1-million Heritage Place Futurity. He was a close second in the Grade 2, $385,000 Dash For Cash Futurity.
This year, he was fourth to Hold Air Hostage in the Heritage Place Derby.
“We just got him after the Heritage Place Derby,” said Kearl. “He is just easy to train. He’s a pro.”
Mike Joiner trains three of the Rainbow Derby finalists — second-fastest qualifier Jess A Painted Wagon, fifth-fastest qualifier Kitty Kiernan and 10th-fastest qualifier C Twister Seis.
R.D. Hubbard’s Jess A Painted Wagon, a $35,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, scored a neck win in the sixth trial over third-fastest qualifier Myst Fit. Jess A Painted Wagon was timed in :21.493 while favored Myst Fit stopped the clock in :21.513.
Jess A Painted Wagon, a daughter of Pyc Paint Your Wagon, will be making her stakes debut in the Rainbow Derby. She came into the trials off a neck win in a conditioned allowance race.
“We took the blinkers off two starts ago and she’s made a lot of improvement,” said jockey Cody Jensen. “As long as she can get away from the gate and has a hole to run through, she can do a lot of running on the other end.”
Kitty Kiernan, a $68,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, won the seventh trial in :21.535 over ninth-fastest qualifier Majestic Eagle, who was timed in :21.618.
Owned by Pat Guthrie, Billy Smith, Paul Blanchard and Andy Grooms, the Fdd Dynasty-sired Kitty Kiernan came off a string of four second-place finishes before winning her Rainbow Derby trial.
Randy Smith’s homebred C Twister Seis, ridden by Jensen, took the fourth trial by one-and-one-half lengths and earned a spot in the Rainbow Derby with her :21.639 time. She was third in the $100,000 Mr Jess Perry in her previous start.
For complete Ruidoso Downs’ information, go to www.raceruidoso.com, visit the Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino Facebook page and follow the Ruidoso Press Box (@RuiPressBox) on Twitter.
2017 Rainbow Derby Unofficial Qualifiers
Horse/Trial # Trainer Jockey Wind Time
Hold Air Hostage/5 (S) Judd Kearl Rodrigo S Vallejo 4h 21.414
Jess a Painted Wagon/6 Mike Joiner Cody Jensen 4h 21.493
Myst Fit/6 Trey Wood Ricky Ramirez 4h 21.513
Teller Baja/9 Judd Kearl Rodrigo S Vallejo 4h 21.534
Kitty Kiernan/7 Mike Joiner Cody Jensen 3h 21.535
High Plains Perry/9 Trey Wood Ricky Ramirez 4h 21.598
Apolitical Chad/9 Wesley Giles Larry Payne 4h 21.600
Duponte/1 (S) Judd Kearl Rodrigo S Vallejo 8c 21.615
Magestic Eagle/7 Juan Gonzalez Jaime Parga Leos 3h 21.618
C Twister Seis/4 Mike Joiner Cody Jensen 2h 21.639
$100,000 Corona Cartel Preferred Horses
Eyesa Texas/11 John Stinebaugh Larry Payne 0 21.644
Corona Carmelita/2 Trey Wood Ricky Ramirez 4c 21.654
Cropped Top/3 Trey Wood Ricky Ramirez 3c 21.685
Lethal Class/10 Trey Wood Ricky Ramirez 2h 21.690
Paint My Pilot/3 Jorge Gonzalez Yordanis Amaro 3c 21.702
Famously Blue/11 Trey Wood Raul Ramirez 0 21.711
Wild Mares Milk/7 Fred Danley Sergio Becerra 3h 21.716
B D Illusion/6 Judd Kearl Rodrigo S Vallejo 4h 21.725
Beaus Famous/4 Judd Kearl Jose Amador Alvarez 2h 21.728
Elicity/10 Juan Aleman Eduardo Nicasio 2h 21.732