Trainer Sid Attard, tied for the top spot among trainers at the 2009 Woodbine meet, sends out a tough duo in the $200,000 Play the King Stakes (Can-IIT) for turf sprinters at Woodbine Aug. 29.
A seven-furlong turf race for 3-year-olds and up, the Play the King is the leading Woodbine stakes tightener for the $1-million Woodbine Mile (Can-IT) Sept. 20. Attard, who is tied with Mark Casse atop the Woodbine trainer standings with 36 victories through Aug. 25, has a solid hand in the Play the King with Jungle Wave and Just Rushing, both owned by Tucci Stables. They will occupy the outside two starting slots in the eight-horse field.
The 8-year-old Just Rushing won last year's Play the King by 1 1/4 lengths prior to a third-place finish in the Woodbine Mile. The gelding by Wild Rush, breaking from the far outside with Emma-Jayne Wilson named to ride, comes into this year's renewal in top form after winning his last two starts for Attard.
The stalker most recently captured the seven-furlong Ontario Jockey Club July 18 on the Woodbine turf when he was up in the final strides to prevail by a neck over Sterwins. The veteran campaigner has won 16 of 35 lifetime starts and has earned just under $1 million.
Jungle Wave, a 4-year-old gelding by Hold That Tiger, has done little wrong since arriving in Canada last fall, winning four of five races and placing second in the July 19 Bold Venture Stakes. The bay began his career in Southern California and was claimed away from owner Peter Redekop and trainer Terry Jordan in his second Woodbine start May 10 for $62,500.
The Kentucky-bred Jungle Wave is yet to win a stakes race, but has captured six of 10 starts so far in his career. Usually forwardly placed, he is coming off a 4 1/2-length triumph in a $91,900 allowance heat at 6 1/2 furlongs on the Woodbine lawn Aug. 8. He'll break from post 7 in the Play the King with the capable Todd Kabel aboard.
Rebellion travels north of the border for trainer Graham Motion and is looking to end a nine-race slump since capturing the Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) on Cushion Track at Hollywood Park in June 2008. The 6-year-old Great Britain-bred, who raced previously over Woodbine's Polytrack (finishing fifth in the Vigil Stakes last May) has three lifetime wins on turf in 12 tries. Woodbine leading rider Patrick Husbands has the mount.
Wise River is another tuning up for the Woodbine Mile for trainer Clark Hanna. The 6-year-old son of Belong to Me won the Robert F. Carey Memorial (gr. IIIT) at Hawthorne 11 months ago and followed that with second-place finish in the Miami Mile Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Calder. He has not raced since finishing sixth of seven in the July 4 Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT) over a yielding Churchill Downs course.
Field Commission , winner of the May 18 Vigil (Can-III) for trainer Daniel Vella, has raced almost exclusively on Woodbine's Polytrack in his 15-race career. The lone exception came in a solid second-place effort in the June 21 Highlander (Can-IIIT) on turf June 21, when he came from far back to finish just two lengths behind Smart Enough on a "good" course.
Sam-Son Farms' Cross Every Bridge is unbeaten in two starts, both on the Woodbine grass, most recently defeating an optional claiming allowance field at seven furlongs on a yielding course July 31. Mark Frostad trains the 4-year-old gelding by Giant's Causeway, who will be ridden by red-hot Robert Landry.
Juddmonte Farms' Fifteen Love, winner of the Totesport Mile at Goodwood more than a year ago, is coming off his closest American effort in four tries for trainer Bobby Frankel when he ran second in a one-mile optional claiming allowance at Woodbine Aug. 1. The winner of that race, the Roger Attfield trainee Jimmy Simms, completes a well-rounded Play the King field.
$200,000 PLay the King Stakes (Can-IIT), 3 & Up, 7 Furlongs (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Cross Every Bridge (ON), R C Landry, 115, M R Frostad
2. Rebellion (GB), P Husbands, 121, H G Motion
3. Field Commission (ON), T Pizarro, 121, D J Vella
4. Wise River (KY), C J Lanerie, 119, C Hanna
5. Jimmy Simms (KY), J C Jones, 115, R L Attfield
6. Fifteen Love (KY), L Contreras, 117, R J Frankel
7. Jungle Wave (KY), T Kabel, 115, S C Attard
8. Just Rushing (ON), E Wilson, 121, S C Attard