Tres Friends Holds Off First Valiant Sign, Wins $1 Million Rainbow Futurity at Ruidoso
Jockey Ricky Ramirez rides Tres Friends to victory in Sunday's $1 million Rainbow Futurity at Ruidoso Downs.

© Ismael Venegas
Tres Friends Holds Off First Valiant Sign, Wins $1 Million Rainbow Futurity at Ruidoso

RUIDOSO DOWNS, NM—JULY 19, 2015—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 defeats First Valiant Sign (#4) and My Royal Wagon (#1) in the $1 million Rainbow Futurity(G1) Sunday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs. © Gay Harris / Ruidoso Downs
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.” L. Kessinger, B. Williams and W. Barton bred the gelding in California.

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 winning connections of Tres Friends accept the Rainbow Futurity(G1). © Gay Harris / Ruidoso Downs
First Valiant Sign boosted his career earnings mark to $496,280. G.R. Carter, Jr. was aboard the Valiant Hero gelding out of the Pyc Paint Your Wagon mare First Painted Sign. Mixer Ranch bred the gelding in Oklahoma.

The Mike Joiner-trained First Valiant Sign will now probably point at the All American Futurity trials.

Brian Gunder's My Royal Wagon earned $100,000 for his third place Rainbow Futurity(G1) effort. Brian Muse conditions the son of leading sire Pyc Paint Your Wagon out of Lynettes Knockout, by This Snow Is Royal. Carl and Luanne Humphries is the breeder. He was a $36,000 Heritage Place September Sale Yearling.

My Royal 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.

Sky Bo Dash, Roman Solider Cd, A Tres Of Paint, Fine Oak Corona, Desperate Daisy, Like A Gift and Mr Pyc To You completed the Rainbow field.

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