Q-Racing Blog: Beyond the Rainbow

Remembering some of the icons.

Remembering some of the icons.

The Rainbow Futurity was an instant iconic futurity when it was first contested in 1964 as a bridge between the Kansas Futurity and the All American Futurity, which was inaugurated in 1959.

The Kansas Futurity moved to Ruidoso Downs in 1960 and left in 1992. It was replaced by the Ruidoso Futurity.

The first Rainbow Futurity, which boasted a $90,090 purse, was won by Double Queen. She was owned by Clarence Scharbauer Jr., trained by Don Farris and ridden by Jimmy Dreyer. Those three men are each members of the Ruidoso Downs Racehorse Hall of Fame. Scharbauer is also an AQHA past president.

The Rainbow Futurity, which had a $1 million purse this year, is still the step from the Ruidoso Futurity and the All American Futurity.

A look back in time at highly respected Rainbow Futurity winners and their All American fortunes is appetizing.

Television analyst/American Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred racing expert/Ruidoso expert Tom Dawson weighed in with his horse choices. They are excellent choices. Remember, we went with the oldies.

 Tiny's Gay. PHOTO: AQHA File Photo

John Colville’s Tiny’s Gay was the 2-year-old in 1974. He won the Tumbleweed Futurity at Sun Downs and the Bay Meadows Futurity before heading to Ruidoso Downs. The Tiny Watch son won the Kansas Futurity by one-half length at 1-2 odds and then the Rainbow Futurity by a nose at 1-5 odds.

“We didn’t know if a Triple Crown was possible, but he sure looked the part,” said Dawson.

In the All American Futurity, Easy Date flew down the outside of the track to catch Tiny’s Gay and hand him the defeat by a head.

For a period of time, owners Dan and Jolene Urschel were rolling on the top of the game. They had won the 1979 All American Futurity with Pie In The Sky, a colt they purchased, and came back the following year with the stocking-legged Mighty Deck Three, another gelding they bought.

Mighty Deck Three was setting track records in Kansas before his acquisition. In his Ruidoso debut, he won a Rainbow Futurity trial by 5 lengths and cruised to a 1 1/2-length Rainbow Futurity win at 1-2 odds.

“It seemed he could do no wrong,” said Dawson.

Sent off at 1-9 odds in the All American Futurity, Mighty Deck Three was beaten by Higheasterjet’s nose.

As if Pie In The Sky and Mighty Deck Three weren’t enough, the Urschels came up with Special Effort in 1981. He was 9-for-9 as a 2-year-old and earned more than $1 million.

The Raise Your Glass (TB) son won the Kansas Futurity by 1 length, the Rainbow Futurity by 1 1/2 lengths and then the All American Futurity by a record 3 1/4 lengths. It is still unmatched. He is the only horse to win the three major futurities at Ruidoso Downs.

“Okay, so Mighty Deck Three was defeated,” said Dawson. “After the Rainbow, we all knew Special Effort was in a class by himself.

“They started selling breeding rights in the Turf Club.”

Those breeding rights led him to his status as an all-time leading sire and member of the AQHA Hall of Fame.

Brigand Silk. PHOTO: AQHA File Photo 

Ahhh, Brigand Silk. The gray colt still, almost mythically, is on the short list of the fastest Quarter Horses to ever live. Get in a discussion of the all-time fastest horses and throw out his name. Then watch old-timers nod.

In 1985, the son of Beduino (TB) set a Ruidoso Downs’ 400-yard track record (:19.510) in his Rainbow Futurity trial and then lowered it (:19.370) when he won the Rainbow Futurity by one length.

Brigand Silk won his All American Futurity trial by 2 1/4 lengths at 1-20 odds. He never made it to the finals, as he died between the trials and the final race. His death has been attributed to complications from colic, however some folks suggest there were more nefarious reasons. It adds to the mythic implications of Brigand Silk.

Brigand Silk died undefeated from seven starts with unlimited potential as a racehorse and sire.

“Brigand Silk smashed the stakes and track record,” said Dawson. “He looked like a dominator.”

Deceptively gets a hug in the Rainbow
circle. PHOTO: AQHA File Photo

Roger Knight’s homebred Deceptively started her career in 1992 like the brightest comet flashing across the night sky. The daughter of Runaway Winner, who had the same brilliance, won each of her four starts as a 2-year-old.

Deceptively won the Kansas Futurity by 1 1/4 lengths in her second career start. She was timed in :17.220 for 350 yards. She then won the Rainbow Futurity by 1 1/2 lengths at 1-5 odds. Physical problems made that her final 2-year-old start.

“Deceptively would have been everybody’s All American darling, but injury kept her from the trials,” said Dawson. “I believe we knew it before the hype had a chance to really build.”

The following year, another Runaway Winner offspring, Treacherously, was unbeatable until …

Treacherously won his first eight starts, including three Grade 1 futurities. He won the Sun Country Futurity at Sunland Park by a neck, the first running of the Ruidoso Futurity by a game nose and left little doubt in the Rainbow Futurity with his 1½-length conquest.

The gelding was the 1-9 favorite in his All American Futurity trial and came through with a 1 1/2-length win. He then finished third to A Classic Dash and Heza Fast Man in the All American Futurity as the 2-5 choice.

“Treacherously had a triple-crown shot,” said Dawson. “But, I recall, many of us were skeptical.”

After his 38-race career, Treacherously was given by owner Wayne Dallas to trainer Sam Sandoval, and he served as Sandoval’s pony for many years.

Those are some oldies and goodies. There are always more.

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