Rarin had an eventful trip on his way to winning the Grade 2, $50,000 Higheasterjet Handicap while Valiant Tiberias dominated the $53,108 Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge for his fourth consecutive win on Sunday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs.
Rarin Partnership’s Rarin started from the outside ninth post position and was clear of his rivals when he started to severely lug in while jockey Martin Felix was trying to straighten him out with left-handed urging. The seven-year-old gelding got lined out by the time he got to the four path and went on to win by one-and-one-quarter lengths. There was an objection, but it was not allowed.
“I was hitting him left handed and he was still pulling away,” said Felix.
The seven-year-old Rarin was timed in:17.326 for the 350 yards.
“Imagine how fast he would have gone if he had ran straight,” winning trainer Rodolfo “Rudy” Valles said. “He’s always had a habit of lugging in. He’s classy. He’s just an old classy horse.”
Rarin, a gelding by Inseperable, came off a win in the $50,000 La Plata Stakes at SunRay Park.
Last year, Rarin won the $66,000 Mighty Deck Three Stakes at Remington Park and closed out the year with a win in the Grade 2, $50,000 James Isaac Hobbs Stakes at Zia Park.
The Jorge Luis Hernandez-owned and -trained Medessy was second, a neck ahead of Blas Duran Castillo’s Putinical.
Medessy, winner of an optional-claiming race in his previous out, was ridden by Alan Hernandez.
Putinical was third in last year’s $300,000 Albuquerque Fall Championship. He is trained by Beatriz Sanchez-Carrillo and Edgar Martinez was up.
The ever improving Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge winner Valiant Tiberias raced to his fourth victory from as many starts this year with each of the starts at Ruidoso Downs. Last year, he was winless from three starts.
Valiant Tiberias, the odds-on favorite, crossed the finish line an increasing three quarters of a length ahead of Fast Gold Prize. Conquering Marie was a neck behind Fast Gold Prize for third.
A gelding by Valiant Hero, Valiant Tiberias was timed in :19.594 for the 400 yards.
“He ran super,” winning rider James Flores said. “He was relaxed in the gate.”
Winning trainer Ricardo Armendariz said that it was probably Valiant Tiberias’ best start.
Valiant Tiberias won the $116,840 Maiden Stakes on May 27 and then won his Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge trial by two lengths with the fastest-qualifying time of :19.920 for 400 yards.
Owned by Sergio Holguin, Cliften Nielsen and Felix Rodriguez, Valiant Tiberias has been successfully climbing the class ladder and that could continue.
Armendariz said that Valiant Tiberias could be supplemented to the trials of the Grade 1, $1-million (est.) All American Derby on August 18 at a cost of $50,000. “Most importantly, we will see how he pulls up,” Armendariz said. “If he does pull up well, then we will meet and see if we want to go on with the plan (of supplementing him to the All American Derby trials).”
The win in the Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge earned Valiant Tiberias a starting berth in the Grade 3, $150,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship at Albuquerque Downs on October 26.
Valiant Tiberias joined the Armendariz stable early this year and was unruly. The trainer was ready to send the horse back home after a week in his care. However, the gelding kept improving and now has the top echelon of his division on the agenda.
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