Kings River Knight Powers to $100K Crystal Water Score

May 28, 2023

Kings River Knight takes the Crystal Water impressively under Juan Hernandez (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.— In control on the lead throughout, John Sadler’s Kings River Knight powered to a 2 ¼ length win in Sunday’s first race at Santa Anita, the $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes. Ridden for the first time by Juan Hernandez, the 5-year-old gelding by Acclamation got one mile on turf in 1:34.55.

The Crystal Water is part of the lucrative CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series for California-bred or sired runners.

With Hernandez nurturing his natural speed on the front end to the far turn, Kings River Knight kicked into high gear turning for home and was widening on runner-up Coalinga Road at the wire, providing his connections with his first stakes win in career start number nine.

Most recently second, beaten a nose going 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course in the statebred Sensational Star Stakes March 19, Kings River Knight was off as the 4-5 favorite in a field of five California-bred 3-year-olds and up and paid $3.60, $2.20 and $2.10.

Kings River Knight after his Crystal Water victory (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Bred by Old English Rancho and owned by Integrity Thoroughbred Racing, LLC, the Ellwood Johnston Trust and Kenneth Tevelde, Kings River Knight, who is out the Poteen mare Seasontoperfection, picked up $60,000 for the win, increasing his earnings to $236,260 from an overall mark of 9-4-4-0.

Ridden by Umberto Rispoli, Coalinga Road appeared poised to take on the winner at the top of the lane but was second best on the day, finishing 2 ¼ lengths in front of Carmelita’s Man. Off at 2-1, Coalinga Road paid $2.80 and $2.10.

Carmelita’s Man trailed the winner by double digits while last heading to the far turn and rallied to be third, finishing three quarters of a length in front of Bang for Your Buck. Off at 9-1, he paid $3.00 to show.

Fractions on the race were 23.58, 47.54, 1:11.28 and 1:22.97.



JUAN HERNANDEZ, KINGS RIVER KNIGHT, WINNER: “John (Sadler) told me this is a very nice and professional horse. He was very smart out of the gate, and we won the race there. There were only two speed horses in the race, so he took off as soon as the gates opened. He was very comfortable throughout the race. He could have gone faster. At the three-eighths, I asked him to pick it up and he responded.”


JOHN SADLER, KINGS RIVER KNIGHT, WINNER: “I told (Juan Hernandez) it is probably best when you draw the one to set the pace. The horse has done very well. He came to me in good shape from Andy Mathis, who thought there were a few more opportunities down here for this horse than up in Northern California. He is a nice horse, his form is consistent, so I was thrilled.
“He’s just a cool horse. He doesn’t do anything wrong and trains willingly, so we felt good all the way.”


JUDY JOHNSTON WIDOW OF ELLWOOD JOHNSTON, OWNER/BREEDER, OLD ENGLISH RANCHO, KING RIVER KNIGHT, WINNER: “It is absolutely fantastic. It feels like old times. Buddy is watching from the Skybox.”

NOTES: The winning owner is The Ellwood Johnston Trust, Integrity Thoroughbred Racing LLC, and Kenneth Tevelde.

@jonathanstettin I for one can still actually feel the pall cast over the crowd and game that day. It was palpable. Kudos 2/2

William G. Gotimer (@WilliamGotimer) View testimonials