08/27/2010 12:26PM

Attard takes three shots at Play the King


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Sid Attard will be holding a very strong hand in Sunday’s $200,000 Play the King Stakes, when he runs the uncoupled trio of Jungle Wave, Signature Red, and Smokey Fire. The seven-furlong turf sprint is a prelude to the Sept. 19 Woodbine Mile, a $1 million event that has been a successful prep for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Jungle Wave won last year’s Grade 2 Play the King before ending up fourth in the Woodbine Mile. He is winless in four starts this year, but managed to hit the board in his last three races, including when he ran second to Utterly Cool in the allowance prep for the Play the King.

“He’s come along slowly, but he’s in good shape now,” said Attard. “He lost a shoe in his last race. He was lugging in, and [Chantal Sutherland] said he wouldn’t change leads. Normally, he runs straight. He got beat by a very nice horse.”

Signature Red won his two most recent races, the Highlander Stakes and the allowance prep for that Grade 2 fixture. Both came over six furlongs on the grass.

Attard predicted that Signature Red will stay the trip on Sunday.

“I think he’ll go seven furlongs, no problem,” Attard said. “He’s been going real good. Right after his last race, we sent him to the farm for almost two weeks. He’s been working really nice since he came back in.”

Smokey Fire captured two consecutive stakes on Polytrack before trailing in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap on the dirt at Saratoga Aug. 8.

“Right away, he showed that he doesn’t like the dirt down there,” Attard said. Attard said he believes that Smokey Fire is just about equal on Polytrack or the grass.

“He had four starts on the turf last year, and had a win and three seconds,” Attard said. “He got beat by some nice horses.”

The seven-horse field also includes the last two Canadian champion sprinters, Field Commission and Fatal Bullet.

Field Commission was second in last year’s Play the King, and subsequently iced the champion sprinter honors with a victory in the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes.

Fatal Bullet, the runner-up in the 2008 BC Sprint, was well-beaten in his lone turf excursion, which came in the 2007 Summer Stakes.