Downs at Albuquerque

Downs at Albuquerque

Valiant Tiberias posts mild upset victory in Grade 1 Albuquerque Fall Championship, as the track ends its 2021 meet with a lucrative stakes bonanza.

Valiant Tiberias. Coady Photography

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Valiant Tiberias, a 5-year-old brown Valiant Hero gelding, sprinted to a clear 1 1/4-length victory in Sunday's 440-yard, $300,000 Albuquerque Fall Championship (G1), one of six official Quarter Horse stakes contested on closing day of The Downs at Albuquerque's 2021 meet.

Saddled by Hector Jacquez for owners Sergio Holguin, Clifton Nielsen, and Felix Rodriguez, Valiant Tiberias made his quarter-mile trip in :20.953 while racing against a reported 9-mph head wind. Juan Pulido rode the gelding, who recorded a 107 speed index while scoring his fourth career Grade 1 win.

Valiant Tiberias was coming off of a wire-to-wire, two-length victory in the 440-yard, $56,000 Bank of America Retama Championship Challenge Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park on August 7. The gelding was bred in Oklahoma by Reliance Ranches LLC, and he sold for $13,000 at the 2017 Heritage Place Yearling Sale in Oklahoma City.

Raced in three states, including Oklahoma and Texas, Valiant Tiberias has won 12 of 25 starts -- including five of 13 at the classic 440-yard trip -- and the $164,400 winner's share of the purse from his ninth lifetime stakes victory increased his bankroll to $852,832.

Valiant Tiberias was sent to post as the 4-1 second choice in the field of eight. Danjer, the 1-5 favorite and last year's champion aged horse, finishhed second and was followed by Don Chuy C, Bella Faccia, Marcus Medallion, Jess A Satin Flash, Dr Tool, and Chicks Baby Suds.

New Mexico State Fair Futurity (RG3)
Lucina Salas Lopez's HS Golden Eagle, the seventh-fastest qualifier from seven trials on August 27, sprinted to a convincing 1 3/4-length win in Sunday's 400-yard, $395,708 New Mexico State Fair Futurity (RG2) for state-bred 2-year-olds.

Saddled by Javier Duarte and racing against a reported 9-mph head wind, HS Golden Eagle stopped the timer in :19.557. Jacob Enriquez rode the sorrel daughter of the Jesse James Jr stallion Osbaldo.

HS Golden Eagle was bred by Hubaldo Solis of Peralta, New Mexico. The filly is out of Catchtherain (TB), a winning daughter of the Gone West (TB) stallion Super Special.

Raced in two states, including Arizona, HS Golden Eagle has won two of seven outs and has banked $217,653. Her spring campaign included a fourth-place finish, 1 1/4 lengths behind winner Dashin Approach, in the 350-yard, $113,000 New Mexico Breeders' Futurity (RG3) at SunRay Park on May 23.

Holland Rock ran second and was followed by Big Crush BB, Long Pour, Dashin Approach, fastest qualifier BF Shes Outrageous, Jess Take Babe and Day Thuggin. Fifth-fastest qualifier Miriam La Rebelde and sixth-fastest qualifier Flume Chicks were scratched.

La Fiesta Futurity
Second-fastest qualifier Lethal Avenger scored a half-length victory in Sunday's $252,162 La Fiesta Futurity.

Racing for J & SM Inc., Don Reynolds, and M. Lane Reynolds, Lethal Avenger went 400 yards in :19.657. Noe Garcia Jr. rode the bay son of Volcom for trainer Fred Danley.

Lethal Avenger was bred in Texas by P.K. and Kim Thomas, and he was coming off of a neck win in one of three La Fiesta Futurity trials on August 29. A $50,000 purchase at last year's Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, the gelding is out of Lethal Class, a homebred winning 7-year-old daughter of champion Tres Seis who ran third in the 2016 Rainbow Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso Downs.

All told, Lethal Avenger has won three of seven races, and the $126,081 winner's share of the purse from his first stakes score pushed his earnings to $168,741. His record includes an eighth-place finish, two lengths behind winner Jess Savin Candy, in the July 25, $1-million Rainbow Futurity (G1).

Fastest qualifier Runaway Witch finished second and was followed by Bregman, Daredevil Buck, RC Relentless Grace, RC A Revenant Dream, Kiss My Hot Socks, Betterton, Glamazon, and Apollitical Miracle.

New Mexico State Fair Derby (R)
A $30,000 yearling purchase at the 2019 New Mexico-Bred Sale at Ruidoso Downs, Bigg Dee continues to pay big dividends for owner Rex Wells, as the gelded son of Big Daddy Cartel led at every call en route to a one-length victory in Sunday's $238,264 New Mexico State Fair Derby (R) for state-bred sophomores.

Bigg Dee went 400 yards in :19.586 and returned a $3 win mutuel as the 1-2 favorite in the field of nine 3-year-olds. Mario Delgado rode the bay gelding for trainer James Gonzales II.

Bigg Dee was bred by Mac and Janis Murray's MJ Farms at Veguita, New Mexico, and he currently sports a four-race win streak that includes a nose victory at odds of 2-1 in the 400-yard, $203,000 Zia Derby (RG2) at Ruidoso Downs on July 31. Campaigned exclusively in New Mexico, the gelding has won eight of 13 starts, and the $119,132 winner's share of the purse from his third career stakes win pushed his bankroll to $324,560, of which $231,461 has been earned from six races this season.

Chicky Chicky Kai, Im Jess Sixy, Woodys Gold, Famous Clyde, Tuco Salamanca, Run Potion, Western Sandman, and Ezze Off completed the order of finish. Fastest qualifier Cristom was listed as a veterinarian scratch.

La Fiesta Derby
Super Champion Inc.'s For the Irony, a black son of Valiant Hero and the fastest qualifier, was a prompt 2-5 favorite in Sunday's 400-yard, $142,636 La Fiesta Derby.

Ridden by Sergio Becerra Jr., For The Irony defeated Mahomes by 1 1/4 lengths in :19.492. Albert Valles saddled the California-bred gelding.

For The Irony was bred by Stone Chase Stables LLC, and he was a $20,000 purchase at the 2019 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale. The gelding is out of Dare You To Beat Me, an unraced 7-year-old daughter of 2001 champion 2-year-old colt Tres Seis. His second dam, the Victory Dash mare Daring Difference, won the 1994 Heritage Place Futurity (G1) at Remington Park.

For The Irony was coming off of a three-quarter length victory in the first of two La Fiesta Derby trials on August 29. The gelding has won nine of 11 starts, and the $71,318 winner's share of the purse from his fourth stakes score increased his bankroll to $230,502.

KJ Daisy Duke finished second, 1 3/4 lengths behind For The Irony, and was followed by Flash The Fire, Petrified, A Pollitical Phoebe, Echo Of Thunder, Astico, and Dasha Girl. 

New Mexico State Fair Juvenile Stakes (R)
Emilio Tapia rode River Flash to a three-quarter length victory in Sunday's $50,000 New Mexico State Fair Juvenile Stakes (R) for state-bred 2-year-olds.

Prepped by Wes Giles for owners Robert M. Driggers and Ben Lee Ivey, River Flash covered 400 yards in :19.534. The gray Chicks Regard colt earned a 95 speed index while scoring his second win in three starts.

River Flash was bred by Ivey Cattle Co., and he made his local debut with a neck victory in one of seven New Mexico State Fair Futurity (RG3) trials on August 27. The colt is out of Riverside Flash, a winning homebred daughter of champion First Moonflash and a finalist in the 2017 Zia (RG1) and New Mexico Cup (RG2) futurities.

The $30,000 winner's share of the purse from River Flash's first stakes victory pushed his bankroll to $34,720.

Antinori finished second and was followed by Daddies Wish, First Feature, Classy Moon, Gabbie, and Ed N Otis.

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