Terry Stennett’s Tres Friends held off the charge of Ruidoso Futurity winner First Valiant Sign to take the Grade 1, $1 million Rainbow Futurity at Ruidoso Downs on Sunday afternoon.
First Valiant Sign was the only horse with a chance to take the All American Triple Crown Bonus of $4 million, but lost that opportunity with the narrow defeat. He would have also needed to win the Grade 1, $3 million All American Futurity on Labor Day to take the bonus.
Tres Friends was in the third post position while First Valiant Sign was next door in the fourth post position. At the start Tres Friends and First Valiant Sign bumped and then First Valiant Sign bumped with Like A Gift starting from the fifth post position.
“He brushed at the start and was in the lead in the second jump,” Tres Friends’ jockey Ricky Ramirez said. “He really ran a good race.”
Tres Friends was timed in :19.744 for the 400 yards while finishing a diminishing neck ahead of First Valiant Sign, who made a furious charge after his troubled start. It was another neck back to third-place runner My Royal Wagon, owned by Brian Gunder and trained by Brian Muse.
A gelding by Tres Seis and out of All American Futurity finalist Lotta Love For Robyn, Tres Friends finished fourth when he made his career debut in the Ruidoso Futurity trials and then won his maiden in his Rainbow Futurity trial. He was the fastest qualifier on the first of two days of trials. There were 16 trials on each day with the horses with the five-fastest times on each day advancing to the Rainbow Futurity.
Tres Friends defeated qualifiers A Tres Of Paint and Like A Gift in their trial.
“He had a terrible first out,” trainer Blane Wood said. “Trey (Blane’s son) worked with him in the gate and he’s figured things out.”
Tres Friends was a $60,000 purchase in the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale. “He was the horse that was on the top of our list. We were going to buy that horse,” Wood said. “I really liked Lotta Love For Robyn.”
The next possible next stop for Tres Friends are the trials to the All American Futurity at 440 yards on August 21-22. “We’ll see how he comes out of this race,” said Wood. “There is so much money in (next year’s) derbies that we won’t run in the All American trials unless he’s ready.
“If he can run with these horses going 400 yards, he can go 440 yards. My concern was if he could run with these horses.”
Owned by Scott Bryant, Joe Dee Brooks, R. Lee Lewis and Derrol Hubbard, First Valiant Sign was sent off as the 9-5 favorite in his Triple Crown quest and nearly got the job done in remarkable fashion. A $100,000 purchase at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, First Valiant Sign won the Grade 1, $750,000 Ruidoso Futurity by a neck.
The gelding by Valiant Hero was a troubled third in his Rainbow Futurity trial. He had to make a closing charge to reach the finals with the third-fastest time on the second day of trials.
The Mike Joiner-trained First Valiant Sign will now probably point at the All American Futurity trials.
My Royal Wagon, a son of Pyc Paint Your Wagon, has been on the board in each of his five outs with three wins. Joe Badilla Jr. was aboard for the third-place finish from the inside post position.
In the $50,000 Rainbow Quarter Horse Juvenile, for horses who did not qualify for the Rainbow Futurity, Motorboatin steadily accelerated throughout the race under Oscar Hernandez to run down the leaders and win his maiden by three quarters of a length.
Owned by Bob McClure with Wendell and Rosemary Chandler, Motorboatin capped the hot weekend for trainer Toby Keeton. He won the Grade 1, $1,067,906 Rainbow Derby on Saturday afternoon with champion Kiss My Hocks.
Motorboatin was timed in :19.927 for the 400 yards.
Stel Royal finished second by a neck over Undaunted.
A gelded son of Pyc Paint Your Wagon, Motorboatin came into the Juvenile off a fast-closing second-place run in his Rainbow Futurity trial.
Regal Racing Stables’ Stel Royal won his Rainbow Futurity trial by a neck while Undaunted 13’s Undaunted was second in his Rainbow Futurity trial.