Bank of America Retama Championship Challenge

Bank of America Retama Championship Challenge

Odds-on choice Valiant Tiberias dominates at Sam Houston Race Park.

Valiant Tiberias. Coady Photography

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Sent to post as the 1-5 favorite in a field of eight aged runners, Valiant Tiberias scored a wire-to-wire victory in Saturday's 440-yard, $55,726 Bank of America Retama Championship Challenge at Sam Houston Race Park.

Valiant Tiberias earned a 104 speed index while making his quarter-mile trip in :21.697, and his winning margin was a clear two lengths from My Fast Prize. Victor Urieta Jr. rode the 5-year-old Valiant Hero gelding for owners Sergio Holguin, Clifton Nielsen, and Felix Rodriguez, and trainer Juan Diaz Jr.

Valiant Tiberias was rebounding off of his effort in the July 2, 350-yard King William Stakes, when he crossed the wire first by 1 1/4 lengths but was disqualified and placed eighth and last following a stewards' inquiry.

"It's not the first time he's done that," said Holguin. "We are always praying that he will come out straight. He did that tonight."

Valiant Tiberias was bred in Oklahoma by Reliance Ranches LLC. Campaigned in three states, including Oklahoma and New Mexico, he has won 11 of 24 starts -- including four of 12 at the classic 440-yard trip -- and the $26,749 winner's share of the purse from his eighth career stakes victory increased his bankroll to $688,432.

"We've had him since he was three," Holguin said of Valiant Tiberias, who has won six graded stakes since then. "We got him when he was a maiden, and he has won a lot of races for us. Horses like this are hard to come by."

Valiant Tiberias won two graded stakes during the Remington Park spring meet, including the 400-yard, $100,000 Sooner State Stakes (RG1) for Oklahoma-breds on April 17.

Tempting Violet ran third and was followed by DM La Jolla Cartel, Krash Course, HB Birdman, BV Last Kiss, and Winter Brook.

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