Tha Duke is Back In Top Form

Tha Duke is Back In Top Form

Tha Duke’s extended pedigree is a tale of two royal members of the American Quarter Horse racing business.

Tha Duke. PHOTO: Dustin Orona Photography

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By Ty Wyant

We have been discussing emerging 2-year-olds quite a bit this year. It seems there is a new name to consider about every week. The latest is Tha Duke, who is the fastest qualifier to the $426,500 Dash For Cash Futurity (G2) at Lone Star Park on October 1.

A rest can be advantageous for a racehorse and the second and third starts after a layoff usually move a horse forward. That could be the case for Tha Duke, who is a son of RC Me Leaving You, a grandson of Hall of Fame stallion Corona Cartel.

Back in March, Tha Duke was racing in his home state of Louisiana.

The gelding debuted in a Louisiana Downs maiden race for Louisiana-breds and finished a troubled ninth after being steadied. Just throw that race out, because he hasn’t been beaten in three starts since that contest.

The gelding came back in another Louisiana-bred maiden race on March 31 and, after a bobble at the start, he proved best with a 1/2-length victory.

After those two March starts, it was time to move up to the futurity level. He started in the trials to the Laddie Futurity for Louisiana-breds on May 6 and demolished the field. His potential was on full display.

Tha Duke started well and had a clear path. He humbled his rivals by 1 1/4 lengths. He had the second-fastest qualifying time on the first of two nights of trials, however did not compete in the finals. Instead, he was headed to the sideline until the Dash For Cash Futurity trials on September 12.

To say he had a successful return is an understatement. He evidently has an abundance of talent and it was displayed in his Dash For Cash Futurity trial. After an alert start, he easily moved with the leaders and then drew out under light urging to win by 1 1/2 lengths with the top qualifying time of :19.971 for 400 yards. Considering that he was the top qualifier from 10 trials, he won his trial by the equivalent of 1 length quicker than the second-fastest qualifier and will be making his second start after an extended layoff in the futurity. He has emerged at the open graded futurity level.

Owned by his breeders, Ashton Elder and Miguel Romero Jr., Tha Duke has an interesting pedigree that dates back to when Queen Elizabeth II was in the first decade of her reign and Elvis was king.

Tha Duke’s extended pedigree is a tale of two royal members of the American Quarter Horse racing business. They are American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame members Harriett Peckham and Dr. Ed Allred.

Peckham owned Los Alamitos Juvenile winner Hy Harriett, a foal of 1957 who went on to produce Go Harriett. That was the start of an influential female family.

Hy Harriett only produced one filly, Go Harriett by Go Man Go, for Peckham. Go Harriett only produced one filly and that was Go Together, who was the 1970 champion mare and champion 3-year-old filly. She set the 440-yard track record at Ruidoso Downs when she won the World’s Championship Classic.    

Go Together’s first foal was by Jet Deck and named Jet Together.

Enter Dr. Allred, who purchased four mares from Peckham. Three of those mares, including Seperate Ways, were out of Jet Together and the fourth mare was out of Go Together.

Seperate Ways, by Hempen, produced champion 2-year-old colt and leading sire Separatist; champion 2-year-old gelding Way Maker; and stakes winner Make It Anywhere. Seperate Ways also produced Making Ways, the stakes-placed fourth dam of Tha Duke.

Tha Duke’s dam, Precious Perry Girl by Jess Louisiana Blue, was unplaced and Tha Duke is her first stakes runner.

Precious Perry Girl’s dam, Making Amends, was the California Breeders’ Matron Stakes (RG2) runner-up and is the dam of Louisiana QHBA Sale Futurity winner Amending The Bar.

Making Amends’ dam was Waymaker Miss, a daughter of Making Ways. Waymaker Miss qualified for the La Primera Del Ano (G2) Derby and produced Sgt Pepper Feature (G3) Handicap winner Making Choices and La Pacifica Handicap winner Warm It Up.

Tha Duke is back and he is back in what should be improving form.