Ridden by James McAleney, Just Rushing stalked the early pace set by Disfunction and took command shortly after the half-mile marker with a three-wide move. He wore down Off Duty in upper stretch and held off a late bid from Wollemi Pine to score at odds of 8-1.
Wollemi Pine took second under Emma-Jayne Wilson, a half-length in front of third-place finisher Off Duty. The final time for seven furlongs on a firm turf was 1:19.77.
Just Rushing, a 7-year-old Wild Rush gelding, earned his first victory since taking the Vigil Stakes (Can-III) April 28, 2007. Although he carried a nine-race winless streak into the race, Just Rushing had hit the board in all but one of those efforts. This was his first career win on the turf.
In last year’s Play the King, Just Rushing lost by a half-length to Le Cinquieme Essai. A 9-year-old gelded son of Fastness, Le Cinquieme Essai was denied his third consecutive victory in the event, finishing seventh in a field of 11 under Steven Bahen after flattening out in the final furlong.
Disfunction ensured a solid pace after breaking well from post 3, posting fractions of :23.33 and :45.52. Off Duty and Just Rushing were close by the whole way, and those three took the field into the stretch. Just Rushing was clear of his rivals by the sixteenth-pole and only had to hold off a rallying Wollemi Pine to earn his second lifetime graded stakes win.
Trained by Sid Attard, Just Rushing is a former claimer who was plucked from Stronach Stables for $40,000 back in 2005. He has won 11 times since the claim, mostly in allowance company. He has now earned $703,318.
"This horse gives you all he's got,” praised Attard. “He was ready for today. We breezed him an easy half mile. He went in :46 and 2/5ths. I don't work horses like that. This time, I said to the exercise boy, 'If he wants to do it, let him do it.' He came back out of the work kicking and bucking.
"We have to play it by ear and see how he comes back. He likes to have more time between races because he always gives you 110 per cent. We'll see."
The winner paid $19.70, $8.90, and $5.70. The exacta (5-6) returned $89.70, while the trifecta (5-6-4) netted $801.30.
Bred in Ontario by Adena Springs and out of the Shananie mare Daybydaybyday, Just Rushing is now 13-4-5 from 28 career starts.