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Everything in “Threes” for Trainer Sleepy Gilbreath

June 5, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

RUIDOSO DOWNS, New Mex. (June 4) – Trainer C. Dwayne “Sleepy” Gilbreath has everything in “threes” for the Grade 1, $170,000 Ruidoso Derby on Sunday, June 11 at Ruidoso Downs.

Gilbreath, whose endearing personality has made friendships throughout racing, has three of the five fastest qualifiers to the Ruidoso Derby, a race that he has won three times. He won with Ronas Sound (1995), Wicked Winner (1998) and Rare Fasteroid (2001).

Gilbreath’s three derby finalists, who won three of the four trials on May 27, are evidence of his training prowess. Fastest qualifier Real Good Man broke his maiden with his trial win and third-fastest qualifier Jess Because scored her second career win. Fifth-fastest qualifier was the only winning favorite from the threesome when he raced to his third victory from four 2006 starts. In his other 2006 race he finished first and was disqualified to second place for interference.

“I was kinda surprised,” said Gilbreath of the trial performances. “I didn’t know exactly where we were with them [in their training].”

Gene White’s Real Good Man has shown ability when in peak condition. However, an injury severely restricted his two-year-old season in 2005 when he started only twice, finishing second in his Ruidoso Futurity trial and running ninth in the futurity.

“We had a knee chip removed after the Ruidoso Futurity,” said Gilbreath. “We just turned him out and gave him a long rest.”

Real Good Man rejoined the Gilbreath stable in February and made his seasonal debut on April 15, finishing fourth in his Remington Park Derby trial and not qualifying for the derby. He took a giant step forward in his Ruidoso Derby trial when he won by 1-1/4 lengths in :20.025 for 400 yards, the fastest time from the four trials.

“It’s pretty good to be the fastest qualifier and break your maiden,” Gilbreath understated.

Johnny T.L. Jones’ Jess Because was winless in four starts last summer at Ruidoso Downs and was then shipped to Columbus, Ohio to win her trial and run third in the Grade 3 All American Quarter Horse Congress Futurity. Jones owns and operates Walmac Farm, a major Thoroughbred breeding farm in Central Kentucky, and Jess Because was sent to Ohio so Jones and friends could see her run and “have some fun,” according to Gilbreath.

The Mr Jess Perry filly made her 2006 debut in winning style when she won her Ruidoso Derby trial by 1-length in :20.148, the third-fastest qualifying time.

Gilbreath thinks this filly could be a factor throughout the summer at Ruidoso Downs. “It took her awhile to mature. She’s just getting better all the time,” he said.

Terry Wood’s Winninginthebuff is the sharp horse of Gilbreath’s trio of derby runners. After starting once last year, the gelding has finished first in each of his four 2005 starts, although he was disqualified from first to second in one race. He capped this hot streak with a ¾-length win as the 7-5 favorite in his Ruidoso Derby trial. His time of :20.253 is the fifth-fastest qualifying time.

Winninginthebuff began his 2006 season at Sunland Park, breaking his maiden in his first start, winning a conditioned allowance race and then being disqualified from the win in another conditioned allowance race. “The winning streak has pumped his heart up,” Gilbreath said.

“We didn’t know what we had with him so we sent him to Sunland to find out what he is,” he added.

What Gilbreath has is three derby prospects who could lead to an excellent summer at Ruidoso Downs for the easy-mannered trainer.