05/18/2006 12:00AM

Slight edge to 'Duke' in Teeworth

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CALGARY, Alberta - Dakota Duke, a closing second to stablemate Smudgeledo in the Stampede Park Sprint Championship here April 29, merits strong consideration in the $50,000 Teeworth Plate on Saturday afternoon. This Teeworth, contested at a mile, has plenty of speed signed on among the 10 older entrants and came up as a very contentious affair.

Dakota Duke closed the best of all in the six-furlong Sprint and is proven at a mile, having captured the Hoofprint on My Heart here last May as a 3-year-old. Saturday's pace scenario, with Smudgeledo, Knight's Covenant, and Hastings invader Five Point Star expected to contest the lead, favors a stalker such as Dakota Duke.

A strong work on May 12 signals Dakota Duke's readiness, and the colt drew post 7 with Stephan Heiler replacing the injured Leanne Painter in the irons.

Smudgeledo, who drew post 5, remains questionable at the distance in view of expected early challenges from Knight's Covenant, a romping winner of the mile prep two weeks ago, and Five Point Star, winner of his 6 1/2-furlong seasonal bow at Hastings on April 22.

Late runs can be expected from Beau Brass, a route specialist who closed well in the Sprint at a distance too short for him, and Fuhr Ore, third in that race after moving in tandem with Dakota Duke.

True Metropolitan, a second Vancouver invader, is yet another contender.