Jungle Wave Rumbles Home in Play the King

Jungle Wave Rumbles Home in Play the King
Photo: Michael Burns
Jungle Wave holds off Field Commission to take the Play the King Stakes.

Favored Jungle Wave shook loose in upper stretch and held off Field Commission   by three-quarters of a length in the $189,754 Play the King Stakes (Can-IIT) (VIDEO) on a "yielding" Woodbine turf Aug. 29, making him a major contender in next month's Woodbine Mile (Can-IT).

Ridden by Todd Kabel for trainer Sid Attard and owner Tucci Stables, Jungle Wave posted his first graded stakes win and his fifth triumph in the past six starts. Attard claimed the Kentucky-bred 4-year-old son of Hold That Tiger in May for $62,500.

The seven-furlong Play the King is Woodbine's major stakes prep for the $1-million Woodbine Mile, which is Sept. 20.

Kabel had Jungle Wave in a good position early, pressing the pace of Cross Every Bridge from second while chasing solid fractions of :23.36 and :45.80 under the course conditions. Jungle Wave turned up the heat on the tiring Cross Every Bridge early on the turn, edging away at the top of the stretch after getting the lead. The bay gelding led by two lengths at the eighth pole and held on in the drive as Field Commission and Tyler Pizarro bid strongly from between horses to make it close. The winning time was 1:23.06.

"I've never sat on him on a yielding turf course," said Kabel. "He showed he handled it very well right from the get-go. He was well in control of the race at all times."

Rebellion rallied late along the inside for Patrick Husbands to gain the show spot by a nose over Fifteen Love. The Graham Motion trainee finished 3 3/4 lengths behind Field Commission. Wise River, Jimmy Simms, Cross Every Bridge, and Just Rushing completed the order. Just Rushing, also from the Attard barn and owned by Tucci Stables, won last year's Play the King before finishing third in the 2008 Woodbine Mile.

Jungle Wave began his career in Southern California for Jerry Hollendorfer, who claimed him for $50,000 out of his debut maiden win at Santa Anita in April 2008. Jungle Wave transferred to Woodbine last fall, winning an optional claiming allowance race over Woodbine's Polytrack in November. He was claimed by Attard out of a victory in his first start of 2009. Overall, Jungle Wave has won seven of 11 lifetime starts and earned $344,472. The Play the King triumph was worth $109,896.

Katalpa Farm and Dr. Rodney Orr bred the winner, who is out of the Cure the Blues mare Darien Blue Wave.

Coming off a record-setting 4 1/2-length win over an allowance field on the Woodbine lawn Aug. 8 (6 1/2 furlongs in 1:13.27), Jungle Wave has now won four of seven starts on turf. Prior to that, he took on Fatal Bullet in the July 19 Bold Venture Stakes, finishing 2 1/4 lengths behind Canada's reigning Horse of the Year in the 6 1/2-furlong Polytrack race.

"When you claim a horse for $62,500, you hope he's going to win for $80,000,"said Attard. "It's a bonus to get this good."

Both Attard and Kabel are looking forward to contesting the Woodbine Mile.

"I said to Sid, 'I don't want to get too high on this horse, but you might have a (Woodbine) Mile horse here,'" said Kabel. "Touch wood, everything Sid and his crew have done with this horse, they've done an amazing job. I'm just a passenger with him right now, I know that much."

Jungle Wave carried 118 pounds and paid $5.70, $3.60, and $2.60, topping a $2 exacta worth $35.50. Field Commission, who ran second in his only other turf start -- the Highlander (Can-IIIT) at Woodbine June 21 -- returned $6.30 and $2.80. The Great Britain-bred Rebellion has now lost 10 in a row since capturing the Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track in June 2008. He was $3.60 to show.

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