Preview Racing

Trainer Heath Taylor Holds Strong Hand in Saturday’s Grade 1, $678,253 Rainbow Derby
Ruidoso QH Derby (G1) winner Empressum will look for his second Grade 1 win in Saturday's $678,253 Rainbow Derby (G1) at Ruidoso Downs.

© Jake Rogers / Ruidoso Downs
Trainer Heath Taylor Holds Strong Hand in Saturday’s Grade 1, $678,253 Rainbow Derby


RUIDOSO DOWNS, NM—JULY 19, 2021—Empressum, a Grade 1-winning son of world champion Apollitical Jess racing for Jeff D. Jones and Steve A. Holt, is the morning-line even-money favorite for Saturday’s 440-yard, $678,253 Rainbow Derby (G1) at Ruidoso Downs.

One of four finalists trained by Heath Taylor and the second-fastest qualifier, Empressum has won all three of his starts at Ruidoso Downs this season, including the 400-yard, $673,000 Ruidoso Derby (G1) on June 12. Rodrigo Vallejo will ride the gelding from post 6.

Taylor will also send out Dulce Sin Tacha, last year’s champion 2-year-old colt. A homebred Jess Good Candy colt owned by Bob and Jerry Gaston, Dulce Sin Tacha brings in a four-race win streak that includes a nose victory in the 400-yard, $1.031-million Texas Classic Futurity (G1) at Lone Star Park on November 28.

Dulce Sin Tacha drew post 5 and will be ridden by James Flores.

Other contenders include Dutch Masters III’s Flash Bak, a gelded son of Moonin The Eagle trained by John Stinebaugh. A $38,000 purchase at the 2019 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, Flash Bak has earned $90,559 from three races this season, and his two wins include a three-quarter length victory in the February 13, 400-yard Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1).

Flash Bak ended his 2-year-old campaign with a second-place finish in California’s richest horse race, the December 13, $1.977-million Los Alamitos Two-Million Futurity (G1). He also was a finalist in Quarter Horse racing’s richest race, the 440-yard, $3-million All American Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso Downs. The gelding drew post 9 and will be ridden by Francisco Calderon.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:

  1. Shott Gun (Eduardo Nicasio), 6-1
  2. Steal The Candy (Raul Herrera) 30-1
  3. Apolliticalfastprize (Alan Hernandez), 30-1
  4. A Dangerous Flash (Adrian Ramos), 8-1
  5. Dulce Sin Tacha (James Flores) 2-1
  6. Empressum (Rodrigo Vallejo), 1-1
  7. Candy Blood (Jesus Rios Ayala), 10-1
  8. Mister Illusion (Benito Baca), 15-1
  9. Flash Bak (Francisco Calderon), 9-2
  10. Troubleshooting (Luis Martinez), 20-1

All Ruidoso Downs races can be seen at