Valiant Tiberias Gains Revenge In Bank Of America OK Challenge, Gets His First Win At Remington
Valiant Tiberias (white blinkers, red shadow roll) gets his head in front of Mi Amor Secreto (#7) to win the Grade 2 Bank of America Oklahoma Challenge on Saturday at Remington Park.

© Dustin Orona Photography
Valiant Tiberias Gains Revenge In Bank Of America OK Challenge, Gets His First Win At Remington

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK—MARCH 27, 2021—Valiant Tiberias checked a box Saturday night at Remington Park, winning here for the first time, taking the Grade 2, $66,292 Bank of America Oklahoma Challenge.

A 5-year-old gelded son of multiple stakes sire Valiant Hero, out of the Feature Mr Jess mare American Feature, Valiant Tiberias earned more than a half-million dollars in his career, but was 0-for-4 at Remington Park. For some reason, he never could quite get that nose in front.

Valiant Tiberias began his local journey, breaking inward during his first maiden race, his career debut at Remington Park on April 27, 2018, and could do no better than sixth. He didn't race here in 2019, but came back in 2020 to take on stakes horses. In those three tries – in the $72,000 Bank of America Oklahoma Championship, the $68,000 Leo Stakes and the $210,000 Debbie Schauf Remington Park Invitational – he ran competitively but finished third, third (DQ'd to ninth) and fourth, respectively.

On Saturday night, Valiant Tiberias would not be denied, winning the battle from mid-stretch to the wire with last year's winner of the race, Mi Amor Secreto. Those two also battled for supremacy with the betting public, the winner going off at 2-1 odds while the runner-up was the 9-5 wagering favorite. They finished a head apart at the mirror. Longshot Uncle Eds Idea (23-1) got up for third.

Jockey James Flores guided Valiant Tiberias to the win and didn't seem worried despite the tight finish.

"He broke sharp this time (last year lugging in at the start, bothering horses and being disqualified) and there was one point where he seemed to think the race was over and I had to get busy on him," Flores said. "Tiberias turned it up when Secreto came up to him."

Valiant Tiberias gave Flores, the two-time defending American Quarter Horse Association Champion Jockey, his best victory of the current meet.

The leading rider from the last three years at Remington Park has started slowly so far, coming off a broken bone in his arm in the offseason. This stakes win was only Flores' fifth win of the meet, putting him in a tie for 10th in the jockey standings, seven wins behind current leader Francisco Calderon at 12. Calderon won two Saturday night.

Valiant Tiberias, owned by Sergio Holguin, Cliften Nielsen and Felix Rodriguez of Odessa, Texas, earned $31,820 for the victory, to improve his lifetime record to 20 starts, nine wins, three seconds and three thirds for a bankroll of $603,993. He is trained by Marco Chavez-Gutierrez of Dodge City, Kan. Reliance Ranches, LLC is the breeder.

"It was a tough field," said Chavez-Gutierrez. "He's been eating good; he's all class. He is better as a 5-year-old and has matured."

Valiant Tiberias, bred in Oklahoma by Reliance Ranches, stopped the timer for 440 yards in :21.260 over a fast track. Mi Amor Secreto finished in 21.288. The top two earned speed indexes of 102 and 101 respectively.

Valiant Tiberias paid $6.40 to win, $3.40 to place and $2.60 to show. It was the first win in this stakes race for all the connections.

Trainer Kelly Hetzel saddled runner-up Mi Amor Secreto for owner Carol Ann Mays. Juan Pulido had the riding call aboard the son of champion sire The Louisiana Cartel from the Feature Mr Jess mare Streakin In Secret. The $13,590 second-place check boosted the chestnut geldings earnings to $593,374. Kelly Perez is the breeder.

Uncle Eds Idea, a 4-year-old son of Dominyun, earned $6,629 for third. Tammy Kay Johnson conditions the Texas-bred gelding for owner-breeders Robert and Stacey Martin. Sergio Dominguez was aboard the $186,488 earner.

The remaining order of finish was Charlies Fury (4th), CERs Final Try (5th), Oatman Creek Senator (6th), Shockinglyfamous (7th) and Singin In The Choir (8th).

Remington Park racing continues Sunday, March 28, beginning at 6pm-Central.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Tracked by more than 163,000 fans on Facebook and more than 10,100 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $242 Million to the State of Oklahoma general education fund since the opening of the casino in 2005. Located at the junction of Interstates 35 & 44, in the heart of the Oklahoma City Adventure District, Remington Park will host the 2020 American Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa Season from March 6 through May 30. For more information, reservations and group bookings please call 405-424-1000, 866-456-9880 or visit