Maiden Stakes winner Valiant Tiberias looks for his third win of the Ruidoso Downs season when he starts in the first of three trials to the $60,000 (est.) Adequan Ruidoso Downs Derby Challenge on Friday, June 14.
First post time is 1 p.m. with the 400-yard trials running as the first three races.
Saturday’s program is headed by fastest-qualifier Big Edge in the Restricted-Grade 2, $403,985 Mountain Top Futurity. On Sunday, the $30,000 Ruidoso Sprint Handicap for thoroughbreds tops the program.
Owned by Sergio Holquin, Clifton Nielsen and Felix Rodriguez, Valiant Tiberias moved from the maiden ranks into a potential top-tier three-year-old this summer at Ruidoso Downs. His next step up the ladder could come in his Adequan Ruidoso Downs Derby Challenge trial.
Valiant Tiberias, winless from three starts last year, is two-for-two this year with each of his starts coming at Ruidoso Downs.
The gelding by Valiant Hero created a reputation when he won his trial to the $116,840 Maiden Stakes by one-and-one quarter-lengths. He raced the 350 yards in a fast :17.332 to top the qualifiers’ list.
The Ricardo Armendariz-trained Valiant Tiberias backed up that impressive trial effort with a convincing three-quarter-length win in the Maiden Stakes.
Valiant Tiberias will be making his third start within five weeks in the Adequan Ruidoso Downs Derby Challenge trials.
“I couldn’t ask for a better, sounder horse,” Armendariz said. “He’s a racehorse. Every day he gets better at everything he does.
“He’s doing well. He was a picky eater and now he is eating well.”
James Flores picks up the mount on Valiant Tiberias with the second post position.
- Dawn Ivey’s homebred Confidential Class was second to Valiant Tiberias in the Maiden Stakes and returns in the second Adequan Ruidoso Downs Derby Challenge trial.
Confidential Class, a gelding by Hez Our Secret, was third in his only two-year-old start and is now showing potential as a three-year-old. The Trey Wood trained gelding won his Maiden Stakes trial by a neck before he was beaten by Valiant Tiberias in the Maiden Stakes.
Ricky Ramirez rode Confidential Class in the Maiden Stakes and retains the mount with the second post position.
Wood and Ramirez team up in the third trial with Cesar Rosales’ homebred Jess Master Angel.
Jess Master Angel makes his Ruidoso Downs debut in the trial after showing talent as a two-year-old in Texas. The gelding qualified for the finals of the Grade 2, $441,000 Sam Houston Futurity, Restricted-Grade 3 $479,000 TQHA Sale Futurity and then the Grade 1, $1,015,000 Texas Classic Futurity.
Jess Master Angel starts from the second post position.
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