Q-Racing Blog: Promise for the Future
This young trainer has a fast start in the business.
By Ty Wyant | June 14, 2018
Trainer Rodolfo “Rudy” Valles, 24, shook American Quarter Horse racing over the weekend of June 9-10. On June 9, he sent out Jess Move You to win the $759,197 Ruidoso Derby (G1) and he came back the next afternoon to saddle Blue Corazon to win the $1 million Ruidoso Futurity (G1).
Valles had never won a stakes race prior to that, and now has two Grade 1 wins and is the third trainer to win the Ruidoso Derby-Futurity double in the same year. He joins Sleepy Gilbreath and Russell Harris.
The young trainer worked for Gilbreath for about 2 1/2 years before going out on his own in May 2017.
“I galloped, broke babies, groomed, whatever for Sleepy,” Valles said.
The legendary Gilbreath knows a winner, human or equine.
“Rudy is as good a young man that I know,” said Gilbreath. “If work ethic means anything, they’ll be hearing a lot from him. I think the world of him. He lives and breathes racehorses.”
Valles keeps his small, but stout, stable – he qualified four horses for the Ruidoso Derby – in the same barn as Gilbreath. The Valles-trained Hierarchy, owned by Paragon Farms, finished third in the Rainbow Derby.
Born in Albuquerque, Valles grew up in Albuquerque’s south valley. He found his passion in racehorses and had every opportunity to pursue that passion.
Guadalupe Valles, his grandfather, had racehorses that the family match raced. Valles’ father, Alberto Valles Sr., also matched horses while Rudy and his brother, Alberto Jr., took care of them. Alberto Jr. is now an assistant to Thoroughbred trainer Weston Martin.
“I always loved horses as long as I can remember,” said Rudy.
Valles graduated from Rio Grande High School in Albuquerque and went to the racetrack. “I worked as a gallop boy for Blane Wood,” said Valles.
He was with the Wood stable for about a year before working for the Gilbreath outfit.
“Then I went to work for (owner) Bobby Simmons and trained a few,” said Valles. “Then I decided to go on my own.”
He had his barn ready for last year’s Ruidoso summer season.
The trainer’s initial goal was “to not go under.”
So far, so good.
“My goal now is to really keep it going,” said Valles. “Then I came across two good horses.”
One of those two good horses, Ricardo A. Bernal and Reymundo F. Resendez’s Jess Move You, made him one of the youngest trainers to win a Grade 1 race. The other good horse, Newman Cattle Co.’s Blue Corazon, made Valles a two-time Grade 1 winner in as many days. Blue Corazon is now the No. 1-ranked juvenile in the AQHA Racing National Poll for 2-year-olds.
Valles got Jess Move You this spring at Sunland Park and sent him to his godfather Jesus Carrete at SunRay Park to win the Animas Stakes at 400 yards by 1 1/4 lengths. Carrete trains on the SunRay-Albuquerque circuit.
The Apollitical Jess-sired Jess Move You returned to Valles at Ruidoso Downs and qualified for the Ruidoso Derby. He won his trial by three quarters of a length with the second-fastest qualifying time of :20.154.
“The horse just blossomed up here,” said Valles. “He definitely got a lot out of that trial.
“He’s gaining weight and shedding. He’s happy, really happy. He came out of the (Ruidoso Derby) finals super. He’s eating and sound. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”
Jess Move You is pointing to the Rainbow Derby trials on July 8. He is not in the All American Derby.
Blue Corazon has stepped forward at every opportunity. The gelding arrived at the Valles barn for the Ruidoso Downs’ training races. He easily won his training race on May 8 and then won his Ruidoso Futurity trial by 1 1/2 lengths with the second fastest time on the first day of trials, 350 yards in :17.985.
“He’s happy, maybe too happy,” said Valles. “He’s keen on his job. He’s very alert and attentive. Sometimes I wish he would lay down and relax more.”
The Newmans did a great job picking him out,” said Valles of the $30,000 Heritage Place yearling purchase. “He’s built like a tank – big shoulder, big hip and looks like a horse who will stay sound.”
The Coronado Cartel-sired gelding is eligible for the Rainbow and All American futurities.
It was an amazing weekend for Valles.
“I’m hungry for the next one to make sure it wasn’t a fluke,” he said.
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