Duke King Looks for a Way Back to His Glory Days

Kona Stakes – Grade III
SA Race #2 6 1/2f Dirt Graded Stake
Purse $100.000 For Three Year Olds And Upward.

It seems a sign of the times that 11 horses that have won collectively over 5K in prize money are racing for a first prize of sixty bucks. So whilst the owners wont be profiting much we, as the general public certainly will with plenty of interest and what look like a really competitive race.
Here is how they line up:

1     Duke King      Mental Bloch Racing     Van Dyke D

Very nearly provided this new trainer with a first BC success in their first try when he went down by just a half length in the BC Sprint last year. The trainer has played around with surfaces and trips since then but he comes back to dirt sprinting today and that does seem to be his forte. I like his chances from this inside gate today and whilst he may be eight years old now he is showing no signs of slowing down.

2     Call Me Mac      Simmer Down Stable        Espinoza V

A fourteen race winner he is a real solid sprinter but takes on a surprisingly good field for a little grade three today and may find a few too fast for him. He gets the draw everyone wants though and is working as good as any so he has a chance in a race that looks more like it will go to the one who gets the breaks.

3     Dutty John Crow      John Henry         Velazquez J R

Third in the BC Dirt Mile last year and a grade one winner after i feel this trip may just suit him. If he gets any sort of a run out of the race engine he will be close at the end but i do worry with him being in his four year old season as they can tend to be a bit hit and miss.

4      Suikoden II        Bkm Racing         Cedillo A

The three year olds only get 3 pounds in this race which puts them at a disadvantage before they even leave the gate. This would be a great way for the trainer to get their first win and i like the fact that they have taken the bull by the horns with this purchase. On his two year old form you would have to give him a decent chance.

5       Standing Ovation    EasyMoney Stables     Desormeaux K J

A consistent three year old he too is up against it at the weights and whilst he wouldn’t be out of place in a race like this normally this particular one has comes up pretty strong.

6       Electric           Angelos Stable         Pyfer J

A four year old that had been stretched out as far as 12 furlongs he came back to sprinting last time for a decent win in a fast time but one feels that he may find a couple of these too fast to be a winning chance.

7      Di Stoneri      Gdp Inc       Gonzalez Ru

Going for five in a row and any horse that has won four in a row must be given a chance at any level. He has come a long way since a maiden claiming win and was very impressive in the Caica Electronica last time. With only six starts and four wins as five years old he looks like one that is tapping into a big talent pool and a win here would make him one of the most progressive horses seen so far this year.

8     Geronimo       Nakamura Stables       Rispoli U

Who could forget him chasing the 1.08 and 1 KYD pace for six furlongs in 2020 an effort that seemed to suggest his future was in sprinting. He has picked up two grade three sprints since then and we know he can run but it has been almost a year since he last got his nose in front and he may be a better place chance than win chance today.

9      Ginger Clean        The Sidley Stud        Maldonado E

Went from winning a GRP allowance to a dual stakes winner in a short time and looks a really progressive sort who isn’t mis-matched in this field. His last two efforts give him a winning chance here of he can overcome this nasty draw.

10      Tko       John Henry      Chirinos R

A grade one winning three year old last year he will, like most, struggle in his early four year old season and that certainly seems to be the case after his two starts so far. He certainly has the ability but may need a bit more time to catch up with the older horses on levels especially from this sort of draw.

11      Mr Ritz        Rheingold Stables        Smith M E

On form and with this draw it is hard to give this horse much chance but when you look at his work times he is right up with the best in this field so it is hard to rule him out. The trainer will have to cash some chips to get him some race engine luck but if things go his way he could easily provide a shock win.


A really tough field for this race and the winner will certainly know they have been in a contest. I think Duke King will relish a return to dirt sprinting and may be a good bet as is Di Stoneri who looks to have the most scope for improvement.

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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