07/04/2007 12:00AM

Jones stable ready for Rainbows


Five-time defending national champion trainer Paul Jones, who oversees his operation from Los Alamitos Race Course about 10 months each year, arrived for his annual summer stay at Ruidoso Downs on Monday to see his stable, as usual, primed for qualifying efforts in this week's trials to the Grade 1, $625,000 Rainbow Futurity and Grade 1, $445,000 Rainbow Derby.

The 18 400-yard Rainbow Futurity trials are Friday afternoon and the three 440-yard Rainbow Derby trials will be held Saturday afternoon.

Jones's New Mexico division is overseen by Lisa Saumell, who guided the preparation of the last two winners of the All American Futurity while Jones was at his Los Alamitos base in Southern California.

Jones's top prospect in the Rainbow Futurity trials is Ruidoso Futurity third-place finisher Three Past Six, who drew into the toughest trial. Three Past Six made her career debut in the trials to the Grade 1, $500,000 Ruidoso Futurity and made a qualifying run when she finished in a dead heat for the win with Shake Securely.

Three Past Six, a bargain $8,000 purchase at the Ruidoso Select Quarter Horse yearling sale, was overlooked in the Ruidoso Futurity wagering at 20-1 odds, but came through with her third-place finish while never threatening winner Heartswideopen, who passed the Rainbow Futurity trials to point to the All American Futurity and the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity.

"She's done everything well," Jones said of Three Past Six. "She has two races under her belt and should be ready in the trials."

Racing against Three Past Six is Wild Six, the West Texas Futurity winner who is 3 for 3 lifetime. The Wes Giles-trained filly used a late charge from the outside post position to win the Grade 1, $266,000 West Texas Futurity on April 22.

Wild Six drew the rail post position in the Ruidoso Futurity trials, but flipped in the gate and was scratched. She will again try to break from the inside post position in her Rainbow Futurity trial match-up with Three Past Six.

In the derby trials, the deep Jones barn is headed by Separate Bet and La Lalique.

Separate Bet, who was trained last year by the now-retired Jack Brooks, made a stunning return from a nearly eight-month layoff to set the Ruidoso Downs 400-yard track record with an allowance win Juneo15. He raced the distance in 19.18 seconds while winning by more than four lengths.

"We expected him to do well, but nobody could expect that kind of performance," Jones said of the track record. "How could you?"

Last year, before he had chip-removal surgery this winter, Separate Bet qualified for the Grade 1, $1.9 million All American Futurity.

La Lalique is a superbly conformed filly who set the fastest qualifying time to the 400-yard Ruidoso Derby and then held the lead in the final until the final few strides.

"She's doing well, but we're concerned about the distance," Jones said, referring to the added 40 yards in distance from the Ruidoso Derby to the Rainbow Derby.

The Rainbow Derby trials also bring out Grade 1 winner Valiant Hero, a son of leading sire First Down Dash and broodmare of the year Corona Chick, who was a sale-topping $500,000 Ruidoso select Quarter Horse yearling sale purchase.

Valiant Hero won last year's Gradeo1, $1 million Texas Classic Futurity at Lone Star Park and comes off a win in the Grade 2 Heritage Place Derby at Remington Park.

Last year, the strapping colt was trained by Brooks and he is now trained by Mike Joiner.

Making his 2007 debut in the trials is Okey Dokey Fantasy, dead-heat winner of last year's Ruidoso Futurity. He also won the Grade 1 Manor Downs Futurity and Grade 2 Longhorn Futurity, and was second in the $300,000 Southwest Juvenile Championship.

Jess You and I tops Vandy's Flash

Champion 2-year-old gelding Jess You and I heads the 3-year-olds in the $35,000 Vandy's Flash Handicap over 400 yards at Los Alamitos on Saturday night.

A winner of 6 of 7 career starts, Jess You and I comes off an allowance victory over All American Futurity winner No Secrets Here in an exceptional 17.25 seconds for 350 yards. Last fall, he earned the bulk of his $652,626 in earnings with a neck victory in the Grade 1, $1 million Golden State Million.

A Mere Splash and Skynlajolla are the leading upset prospects. A Mere Splash is making his first start since winning the $145,000 Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes on March 3, while Skynlajolla has won three straight races, including the Town Policy Handicap in his latest start.