07/23/2016 8:28PM

Valiant Rogue easily wins Rainbow Derby for Quarter Horses

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Valiant Rogue, a colt held in high regard by trainer Judd Kearl for more than a year, won his third consecutive race, and first stakes, in Saturday’s $1,224,488 Rainbow Derby for 3-year-old Quarter Horses at Ruidoso Downs.

Ridden by Tanner Thedford, Valiant Rogue ($9) broke well from post 7 and led throughout the 440-yard race, winning by 1 3/4 lengths over Boogies Special Dash, a 7-1 shot. Stevie B First Cash (11-1) finished third, beaten 2 1/4 lengths. First Valiant Sign, the 8-5 favorite, finished fourth in a field of 10, a head behind Stevie First Cash.

Valiant Rogue was timed in 21.54 seconds.

Kearl trains Valiant Rogue for Wyok Ranch.  As a 2-year-old in 2015, Valiant Rogue was considered the leading juvenile in the barn, but lacked maturity, Kearl said earlier this month. Valiant Rogue was fifth in the Texas Classic Futurity at Lone Star Park last November, losing all chance for a win after a troubled start.

This year has been different. Valiant Rogue has been a reliable starter, winning an allowance race in June and a division of the Rainbow Derby trials on July 10.

Valiant Rogue has won 5 of 11 starts and earned $$597,806. The win in the Rainbow Derby was worth $514,284.

Valiant Rogue is likely to return in the All American Derby trials on Aug. 21. The final for that race is Sept. 4.

The All American Derby trials are likely to attract Jess Good Candy, the winner of the 2015 All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs and the champion 2-year-old of 2015. Jess Good Candy won the Ruidoso Derby last month, but was held out of the Rainbow Derby to prepare for the All American Derby.

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