Rc Corona King Surprises in Grade 3 West Texas Maturity at Sunland Park Sunday
Rc Corona King (#5), under jockey Sergio Dominguez, defeated Peves Charley (#3) and Kj Bootscootin Jess (#6) in the Grade 3 $108,081 West Texas Maturity at Sunland Park Sunday.

Coady Photography
Rc Corona King Surprises in Grade 3 West Texas Maturity at Sunland Park Sunday

SUNLAND PARK, NM—MARCH 31, 2024—RC Corona King, ridden perfectly by Sergio Dominguez at odds of more than 22-1, scored a massive upset in Sunday's $108,081 Grade III West Texas Maturity at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

Trained by Gerardo Quinonez for owner Jose Rodriguez, RC Corona King broke alertly from the gate and battled on the lead for much of the 400-yard test, then had enough left in the tank in the final yards to win by a neck over Pevs Charley.

A 4-year-old New Mexico-bred son of Eye Am King, RC Corona King crossed the finish line in an impressive final time of :19.057 seconds with a 20 mph tailwind, earning an Equibase Speed Index of 107. Baldemar L. Parra bred the gelding from the Deefirst mare Classyoddsofdeefirst.

RC Corona King qualified for the Maturity when he was sixth in a fast trial heat for the race behind eventual post-time favorite KJ Bootscootin Jess on March 10. Prior to that, RC Corona King was a close second in a state-bred allowance race on Feb. 4. Earlier this season, he was an impressive third behind Flash Bak and Empressum in the $350,000 Grade I Championship at Sunland Park on Jan. 7.

The winning connections of Rc Corona King accept the West Texas Maturity stakes trophies and saddles on Sunday at Sunland Park. © Coady Photography

Sunday's win in the West Texas Maturity improves RC Corona King's lifetime record to three wins from 13 career starts. In winning his first career stakes race, RC Corona King pads his bankroll to more than $163,720.

Runner-up Pevs Charley picked $19,455 for his second-place finish. Also trained by Quinonez, the 5-year-old multiple graded-placed One Fabulous Eagle gelding races for owner Alfredo Salazar Perez. Daniel Amaya had the riding call aboard the $120,026 earner from the Okey Dokey Dale mare Miss Okey Dokey Zevi. Gordon Pevehouse bred the bay in Oklahoma.

Fastest qualifier Kj Bootscootin Jess was a another neck back in the blanket-finish to finish third under jockey Adrian Ramos. Wesley Giles conditions the 4-year-old Apollitical Jess Arizona homebred for owners John Lee, Kathy Lee and Ruben Mares. The graded stakes-placed gelding, out of Xquizit by Ivory James, picked up $11,889 to boost his bankroll to $177,111. He was third in the West Texas Futurity(G1) at 2.

Sent off as the third-longest priced horse in the 10-horse field, RC Corona King returned $47.60 to his winning backers. The $2 exacta with runner-up Pevs Charley paid back $416.60.

Our Secret Habit, Buymyladyacorona, Muy Peligrosito, Viper Driver, Bourbon Colored Man, Kool Tambien and Shake No Secrets completed the field.

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The final week of live racing at Sunland Park begins on Thursday with first post time each of the final four days set for 12:25 p.m.

On Saturday, the nine-race quarter horse program will be highlighted by the $354,467 Grade II New Mexican Spring Futurity as well as the $311,896 West Texas Futurity. On Sunday, five thoroughbred stakes races will fill the closing day card, headlined by the $200,000 Sunland Park Handicap.