Wicked Courage Likely Favorite in Rainbow Derby

Leading 3-year-old looks for another win in Rainbow Derby.

Q-Racing Journal
July 18, 2013

Andrew Smith’s Wicked Courage, the fourth-ranked horse in the AQHA Racing-Horseplayernow.com Poll, tries to take the second step toward a possible Grade 1 derby triple crown at Ruidoso Downs when he shoots for his ninth-straight win in the first $1 million Rainbow Derby (G1) on Saturday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs.

The $1,055,000 purse in the 440-yard Rainbow Derby surpasses the previous record $903,774 purse set last year. This is the seventh consecutive running that has established a new record purse.

A showdown between Wicked Courage (Captain Courage-Wicked Pamela by Dash For Cash) and champion PJ Chick In Black (Desirio-Eddie Jym by Corona Cocktail) in the derby is very doubtful, as PJ Chick In Black is expected to be scratched following a trailer accident on Monday. Her connections have until one hour prior to Rainbow Derby post time to scratch her from the race.

PJ Chick In Black is recovering at the Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery Clinic in Weatherford, Texas, after the truck and trailer she was riding in overturned during a thunderstorm near Abilene, Texas. She sustained a cut that required two sutures and could be back in Ruidoso as soon as this weekend. She is eligible for the $2.8-est. All American Derby (G1) and the $1 million-est. Los Alamitos Derby (G1). Each of those races award the winner with a berth in the $750,000 Champion of Champions (G1).

With PJ Chick In Black a near-certain defection, Wicked Courage becomes a more solid favorite. The gelding has won eight-straight races and continues to be in career-best form. He is three-for-three at Ruidoso Downs with his win in the $822,000 Ruidoso Derby (G1) and setting the fastest-qualifying mark to the Rainbow Derby in his latest two outs.

The 17-10 favorite in the 400-yard Ruidoso Derby, Wicked Courage fought to a neck win over Ill Stop The World. He then stepped up in the Rainbow Derby trials when he pulled out to a three-quarter-length win as the 9-10 choice. His time of :20.856 for the 440 yards was the fastest time from nine trials, and the fourth-fastest quarter mile ever recorded at Ruidoso Downs.

Trainer Luis Villafranco brought Wicked Courage to Ruidoso Downs in mid-May after the gelding won five-consecutive races in Oklahoma. Last fall, he won the Black Gold 350 Futurity (R) and the Black Gold Championship (RG3) at Will Rogers Downs. After a winter layoff, he returned to take the Bob Moore Memorial Stakes (G2) at Remington Park before shipping to Ruidoso.

Maegan Cavasos’ JJs Gone (Mr Jess Perry-Teller Yep by Rare Form) won his Rainbow Derby trial by a length with the second-fastest time of :20.939 while making his 2013 debut. The Mr Jess Perry gelding has been on the board in six of seven starts and has a win and two second-place finishes from three Ruidoso Downs starts.

The Victor-Rodriguez Flores-trained JJs Gone was a close second in his Rainbow Futurity trial and his All American Futurity trial last summer. He then won his Hobbs America Futurity trial at Zia Park.

Owned by 21 Partnership, Sudden Thoughts (Wave Carver-Cee Cee Otoole by Corona Cartel) was second in the All American Futurity (G1) and was second behind Wicked Courage in their Rainbow Derby trial with the third-fastest qualifying time of :20.967. The Wave Carver gelding finished three quarters of a length behind world champion One Dashing Eagle in the All American Futurity at 17-1 odds. He has two wins and three second-place runs from seven Ruidoso Downs outs.