Q-Racing Blog: Rainbow Reflections

Q-Racing Blog: Rainbow Reflections

Celebrating familiar faces, new faces and great promotion.

Eagle Coast 2019 Rainbow Derby

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By Ty Wyant

This winding road that is the march from one stakes race to another and, ultimately, to championships is a varied path. There are many different turns, some obvious and some subtle, and there are many rises and dips.

One weekend in July at Ruidoso Downs is different than the other weekends and always anticipated. It is Rainbow Futurity and Derby weekend.

That difference is guaranteed because there is a twist in the road. That is because the Rainbow races are the final stepping stones to the All American Futurity and the All American Derby. Horsemen race their horses in the Rainbow series with their eyes occasionally peeking down the road toward Labor Day weekend with the All American Futurity and the All American Derby.

Here are some takes from this year’s Rainbow Futurity and Rainbow Derby.

Bill Robbins’ Apocalyptical Jess is amazing. He is one of those few horses who demands your attention and deserves enduring respect. Just consider this singular fact: He has earned $2,187,386 to be the fourth-highest money-earning American Quarter Horse ever.

The one question that was raised far more than the other questions before the Rainbow Derby was, “Can he be beat?” They didn’t even name the horse. The question’s object was obvious. Yes, as the racing truism states, “They all get beat.”

Apocalyptical Jess finished third in the Rainbow Derby, however that finish has not diminished any respect. Look back at the Rainbow Derby and consider the race dynamics. Apocalyptical Jess started from the outside post position while the race was on the inside of the track. Winner Eagle Coast was on the rail and runner-up Five Bar Stoli raced from the third post position. Apocalyptical Jess was on an island and the horses he needed to beat were not nearby. That is not an excuse. It’s just the way it was, just like they all get beat.

Apocalyptical Jess will be a respected danger in his upcoming races. How about the All American Derby trials?

Eagle Coast provided the first Grade 1 wins for owner Ernesto Palacio, trainer Jose Muela and jockey Sergio Becerra Jr. The following day, in the Rainbow Derby, Dan and Fran Cavenaugh of Cavenaugh Quarter Horses picked up their first Grade 1 win when their Uncle D took the Rainbow Futurity.

The Cavenaughs made a serious foray into Quarter Horse racing last year with their yearling sale purchases and Uncle D, a $170,000 Heritage Place buy last September, is already making those purchases worthwhile. He is by Corona Cartel and his dam, Little Surfer, is a full sister to champions and sires Ocean Runaway and Wave Carver. Uncle D has the looks, he now has the important Grade 1 win and he has the pedigree to have stallion operations looking to add Uncle D to their stallion roster.

In the race before the Rainbow Futurity, the Rainbow Juvenile, the Cavenaugh-owned filly Why raced to a game head win. She was a $52,000 buy at the Winter Heritage Place Sale a few weeks after she became a yearling.

Why is out of a half-sister to Little Surfer. This family of her second-dam and the all-time leading dam, Runaway Wave, thrives.

Kudos go to trainer Clint Crawford and his team (especially Renee Wilson) for selecting and training the horses, and to Cody Rodger Smith, who rode each of the winners and has spent plenty of time working with the prospects.

The media coverage over Rainbow weekend was superb. There were newbies to racing along with the veterans at Ruidoso Downs to cover the races. That bodes well. One of the racing writers had only been to Ruidoso Downs once before the Rainbow weekend. He said he’s coming back for the Zia Festival racing and then the All American action.

That “showing up” by the media is a winner.

The annual racing road rolled through Ruidoso on Rainbow weekend and provided a few twists and turns. It does every year.

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