Sunday's Grade 1 $625,000 Rainbow Futurity may not include Ruidoso Futurity dead-heat winners Okey Dokey Fantasy and Saint Shackleton, but shortline racing's middle jewel of the Triple Crown could have a superstar in the making nonetheless.
More than two inches of rain decimated the July 7 trials for the 400-yard Rainbow, providing mucky track conditions that worsened throughout the day. When the mud settled, neither Okey Dokey Fantasy nor Saint Shackleton could overcome the conditions or the teletimer. In fact, of the 16 trials held, nine of the 10 fastest qualifiers for the final came out of the day's first four heats.
Horseplayers thinking outside the box will conclude that the Rainbow Futurity contender with the biggest shot Sunday is Remember Me Rose. The seventh-fastest qualifier for a Grade 1 classic rarely demands such attention, but considering that the unbeaten filly from Mexico qualified in the day's 16th and final trial is more than noteworthy -- it's startling.
Let's take a detailed look at the 10 American Quarter Horses who will line up in the middle jewel of the Ruidoso Triple Crown on Sunday. Horses are listed in the order of their qualifying times. Records are listed by Starts-Wins-Places-Shows (Career Earnings).
SCREAMIN BYE (:19.518 / Trial 1)
Record: 3-2-0-0 ($5,140) Trainer: Jamie Zamora
Sire: Dashin Bye Jockey: Chris Zamora
This 8-to-1 upset winner of the day's first trial drifted out badly the entire way after reviewing the head-on replay. Not much separated the top three finishers in that trial, who certainly benefited from running on a track that was yet to be chewed to shreds. Gelding also won a trial for the Ruidoso Futurity, but wasn?t fast enough to get into the finals of the first leg of the Triple Crown. Could be over-bet here.
VOGHTS GOLD (:19.539 / Trial 1)
Record: 6-3-1-1 ($84,041) Trainer: Jack Brooks
Sire: Shazoom Jockey: Jacky Martin
Hall of Fame connections of Brooks/Martin come calling with a colt who is a three-time Grade 1 finalist already this year. Was my top pick in the Ruidoso Futurity when completely wiped out at the start. Voghts Gold broke best in his Rainbow trial, but was out-finished a bit (with no excuses -- the field parted from him on the left and right sides). Feeling here is that he may be a bit over the top.
RUN PERRY RUN (:19.589 / Trial 1)
Record: 5-1-1-2 ($49,245) Trainer: Carl Draper
Sire: Mr Jess Perry Jockey: Oscar Hernandez
Gelding ran as straight and true as you could ask while down on the inside in this trial, finishing third to Screamin Bye and Voghts Gold. Before that, he was a strong third in the Grade 1 Ruidoso Futurity. He drifted a bit early in the Ruidoso final, but finished extremely straight and strong the last 200 yards. This major player also qualified for the Grade 1 West Texas Futurity in March. Of the three Rainbow finalists from the opening trial, he's the most dangerous.
SEPARATIST TOO (:19.650 / Trial 2)
Record: 3-2-0-0 ($19,800) Trainer: Mike Joiner
Sire: Separatist Jockey: Esgar Ramirez
Running on the far outside (9-10 path) in his trial, this gelding leaned out just a touch at start, but gathered stride quickly and drew even with the leaders within 100 yards. He powered home very impressive and straight. Sent off at 3-to-1 odds in the Ruidoso Futurity final and just didn't fire, outrun all way with no excuse on the replays, head-on or otherwise. Looks capable, but consistency issues will force players to seek an overlay price to be interested.
QUICK KATIE STREAK (:19.664 / Trial 3)
Record: 5-1-2-1 ($8.570) Trainer: Paul Jones
Sire: Royal Quick Dash Jockey: Freddie Martinez
Nation's top trainer qualified this surprising 14-to-1 trial winner after a gift-wrapped trip. Breaking from post two, she avoided an absolute train wreck between the No. 3, 4 and 5 horses (including the race favorite). Drifted out a few paths in the final 100 yards and must improve to beat the best here ? but trainer Paul Jones carries a big stick in the big races.
BUCKSHOT DELIGHT (:19.791 / Trial 2)
Record: 2-0-1-1 ($1,610) Trainer: Todd Fincher
Sire: First Down Dash Jockey: Bonifacio Perez
Filly was no match whatsoever for Separatist Too in their trial match-up and drifted out to the eight path from about the four path. She did close ground nicely in her debut after a slow start at 350 yards. It will be hard to imagine her competing for the top prize.
REMEMBER ME ROSE (:19.825 / Trial 16)
Record: 3-3-0-0 ($22,951) Trainer: Ben Torres
Sire: Corona Cartel Jockey: Esgar Ramirez
The filly to beat destroyed the competition in Trial 16, qualifying some 12 races later than the next-closest contender. Not only did she win -- and run fast enough '' but she overcame trouble. 'Rose' broke inwardly pretty badly from post three, corrected herself quickly and destroyed the competition. She was a bit erratic late, drifting a few paths in the final 50 yards while well clear. Prior to her trial, she won the Ford Mexico Juvenile Challenge in Mexico City to qualify for the season-ending MBNA Challenge Championships. Filly was a $25,000 supplement to the Rainbow Futurity trials and rewarded the confidence of her connections.
BIG TIME HERO (:19.857 / Trial 2)
Record: 4-2-0-1 ($14,380) Trainer: Russell Harris
Sire: Jody O Toole Jockey: G.R. Carter
Gelding broke from the far outside No. 10 post in his trial, just outside Separatist Too, brushing with that rival (who leaned out on him a bit at start). Big Time Hero ran a very straight, true honest race from the 10 path the entire way. Much-respected trainer Harris reunites with big-money rider G.R. Carter in the final (Sam Thompson rode in trials). Displayed a fantastic allowance win at Ruidoso in June when drifting only the slightest bit late. This is a longshot possibility with serious chances.
ADRIANNAS FIRST DOWN (:19.899 / Trial 3)
Record: 1-0-1-0 ($880) Trainer: Jamie Zamora
Sire: First Down Dash Jockey: Chris Zamora
The lesser-heralded of the Zamora trainees in the final (stablemate of fastest-qualifier Screamin Bye), she had a very nice debut in the trials when second to Quick Katie Streak. She broke from the rail inside of the winner, and in doing so also avoided that three-horse train wreck in the middle of the track. She ran one of straightest and truest races of all the finalists down on the rail the entire way. Has to move forward to seriously factor, but with only one start under her belt, the chance to show her 'upside' is greater than most.
EYESA CANDY HORSE (:19.900 / Trial 4)
Record: 4-1-1-0 ($5,656) Trainer: Kevin Willis
Sire: Eyesa Special Jockey: Larry Payne
This 34-to-1 trial upsetter was winless in three prior starts. Track and weather conditions were atrocious for this trial with very low visibility. Colt broke perfectly clean, ran in the five or six path much of race, but then zig-zagged the last 100 yards to the eight path and back. He also was completely erratic and drifted all over the place when tiring badly in his maiden attempt prior to the Rainbow trials. Simply put: You don?t want to draw anywhere near this horse!
WIN -- REMEMBER ME ROSE
PLACE -- RUN PERRY RUN
SHOW -- BIG TIME HERO
Jeremy Plonk is the editor of The HorsePlayer Magazine and HorsePlayerdaily.com.