Wyok Ranch, LLC’s Valiant Rogue emphatically showed that he is a horse to be reckoned with after destroying his rivals in the record Grade 1, $1,224,488 Rainbow Derby on Saturday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs.
It is the 10th consecutive year that the Rainbow Derby has set a new record purse.
Valiant Rogue made it look easy. The Tanner Thedford-ridden gelding was on top within a few jumps and the 440-yard classic was over in :21.545 while facing an eight-mph headwind.
“In the trials he ran big,” said jockey Tanner Thedford of fastest-qualifier Valiant Rogue. “Today they false broke in the gate and he stayed still. When we broke he stayed on his task.”
Valiant Rogue’s work resulted in a one-and-three-quarter-length win over Boogies Special Dash while Stevie B First Cash was third, one-half length behind Boogies Special Dash.
First Valiant Sign, the 4-5 favorite, finished fourth.
The Judd Kearl-trained Valiant Rogue is now undoubtedly one of the premier three-year-old quarter horses.
Valiant Rogue, a $20,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, polished off his two-year-old season by qualifying for the Grade 1, $1.1 million Texas Classic Futurity. He has moved forward with his third-consecutive win in the Rainbow Derby.
“Like I said after his trial win, I’ve always liked this colt,” said Kearl. “In the past he would beat himself. He has always been a big colt and now he is mentally mature. He loves 440 (yards) and if all is good he’ll be back (in the All American Derby trials on August 21).”
In his Rainbow Derby trial, Valiant Rogue raced to the fastest-qualifying time of :21.705 from 14 trials.
Kenneth Ruthardt’s Boogies Special Dash won his trial with the fifth-fastest time of :21.845. The Walk Thru Fire gelding from the Kasey Willis stable also won his Ruidoso Derby trial and raced in the $100,000 Mr Jess Perry.
Two Feathers Series LLC’s Stevie B First Cash, a son of First Down Dash, is stakes-placed in his first stakes appearance for trainer Bret Vickery. The $119,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling purchase overwhelmed his rivals by two-and-one-quarter lengths in his trial with the seventh-fastest time of :21.855.
In the $100,000 Corona Cartel, for horses who did not qualify for the Rainbow Derby, Darling Farms’ One Fabulous Eagle returned to the form that saw him finish a close second in last year’s Grade 1, $3 million All American Futurity when he ran away from his rivals.
One Fabulous Eagle left with the leaders out of the gate and then showed his class with a expanding one-and-one-half-length win in a quick :21.406 for the quarter mile under Cesar Gomez.
Wendy See and Greg Kobold’s Double Down was second by one-half length over Undaunted.
The even-money favorite, One Fabulous Eagle was sixth in his Ruidoso Derby trial and then stepped forward in his Rainbow Derby trial to win by a late-running nose in :21.976, the 12th-fastest time from 14 trials.
The Kasey Willis-trained One Fabulous Eagle, a son of One Famous Eagle, proved to be one of the premier two-year-olds at Ruidoso Downs last summer. He was placed third through a disqualification in the Grade 1, $750,000 Ruidoso Futurity and was second by a neck behind champion Jess Good Candy in the Grade 1, $3 million All American Futurity. He was a $75,000 purchase at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale and has now earned nearly $575,000.
Runner-up Double Down, a son of Valiant Hero, has a maiden win from six starts for trainer Wes Giles. He was ridden by Adrian A Ramos.
The Corona Cartel-sired Undaunted was third in the $50,000 Rainbow Juvenile a year ago, a close second in the $214,000 Valley Junction Futurity at Prairie Meadows last fall and reached the finals for the Grade 3, $160,900 West Texas Derby in May.
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