Dimension won the 2013 Play the King Stakes.

Dimension won the 2013 Play the King Stakes.

Michael Burns

Dimension Tries to Repeat in Play the King

Six-year-old gelding takes on Excaper, Winning Prize, and Kaigun in turf sprint.

The $200,000 Play the King Stakes (gr. IIT) at Woodbine Aug. 10 came up particularly salty, with a number of top-class turf sprinters entered in the field of 10.

Although Riverside Bloodstock’s 6-year-old gelding Dimension, trained by Conor Murphy, is coming off a ninth-place finish in the Connaught Cup (gr. IIT) after bobbling at the start, the son of Medicean was impressive winning the Play the King last year. He wired his 12-horse field from the outside after a slow break to score by 2 1/4 lengths, missing the course record by three-fifths of a second.


He then battled on the lead in the Woodbine Mile (gr. IT) only to tire and finish fifth behind Wise Dan. Although he followed that up with another fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT), he was beaten only three lengths at odds of 24-1.


Dimension’s main threat could be the Ian Black-trained Excaper, the horse he defeated in last year’s Play the King. This year, the 5-year-old son of Exchange Rate captured the seven-furlong Connaught Cup May 31. He then was second, beaten a half-length, in the one-mile King Edward Stakes (gr. IIT), after blowing a thee-length lead in the stretch.


But this is such a strong field, it’s difficult to tell who will go off as the favorite. There's grade I winner Winning Prize, who scored in the Frank Kilroe Mile (gr. IT) and Arcadia Stakes (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Park this year before throwing in a clunker in the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) in his last start June 14. Like several of the others, the Neil Drysdale-trained son of Pure Prize will be using the Play the King as a prep for the Woodbine Mile.


Another top-class horse to watch is Kaigun, who gave Wise Dan a scare in the Makers46 Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland in April, losing to the two-time Horse of the Year by only three-quarters of a length. He was then fourth behind Wise Dan, beaten 1 1/2 lengths, in the Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs, second behind Real Solution  in the 1 1/8-mile Manhattan Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park, and fifth in the 1 3/8-mile United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park, beaten only  1 1/2 lengths.


The best races for the son of Northern Afleet  have come at a mile and farther, so there is a question with him dropping back to seven furlongs, which could be used to sharpen him up for the Woodbine Mile.


As if that isn’t enough to make this a tough spot, add the Tom Amoss-trained Global Power, coming off a third in the Jaipur Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park; Highlander Stakes (gr. IIT) winner Something Extra, who has a ton of early speed; and Lockout, as fast-closing third in the Highlander at six furlongs at Woodbine for Mark Casse.


Entries: Play the King S. (G2T)

Woodbine, Sunday, August 10, 2014, Race 6

  • Grade IIT
  • 7f
  • Turf
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 3:33 PM (local)
11Global Power (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJacob Radosevich117Thomas M. Amoss-
22Sharp Sensation (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJesse M. Campbell119Reade Baker-
33Lockout (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateGary Boulanger117Mark E. Casse-
44Something Extra (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEurico Rosa Da Silva123Gail Cox-
55Dimension (GB)David Moran121Conor Murphy-
66Awesome Eclipse (FL)Sheena Ryan117Ravendra B. Raghunath-
77Excaper (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEmma-Jayne Wilson123Ian Black-
88The Brothers War (KY)Alan Garcia117Richard C. Mettee-
99Kaigun (ON)Patrick Husbands117Mark E. Casse-
1010Winning Prize (ARG)Victor Espinoza126Neil D. Drysdale-