08/30/2009 11:00PM

Jungle Wave asserts his credentials

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Michael Burns
Jungle Wave, with Todd Kabel riding, wins the Play the King after pressing the pace. Next stop for the ex-claimer is the Woodbine Mile.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It would appear that trainer Sid Attard and owners Carlo and Lou Tucci are on their way back to the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile on Sept. 20.

And for the second straight time, the connections will be represented by a claimed horse in the $1 million turf race after Jungle Wave solidified his credentials with a three-quarter-length victory under regular rider Todd Kabel in this past Saturday's $207,200 Play the King.

"Kabel said the first time he rode him that he was a Woodbine Mile horse, but I said 'There's a long way to go, buddy.' After the race Saturday I said to him 'It looks like we're getting there.' "

Jungle Wave, a Kentucky-bred gelding, was claimed for $62,500 from his winning seasonal debut here May 10 and has won 3 races, all on turf, in 4 starts for his new connections. His only loss was a second-place finish behind the reigning Horse of the Year, Fatal Bullet, in the Grade 3 Bold Venture over 6 1/2 furlongs on Polytrack.

Coming into the Grade 2 Play the King off a track record-setting score over firm going in the 6 1/2-furlong allowance prep, Jungle Wave faced yielding conditions for the first time in the seven-furlong Play the King.

"I really think he likes it better hard," said Attard. "But he ran good, and he won, so I can't complain."

Under Kabel, Jungle Wave pressed the pace of the eventual sixth-place finisher, Cross Every Bridge, and opened up into the stretch before holding sway over a charging Field Commission.

"I was hoping he'd come off it, but Kabel said he was too sharp," said Attard.

Footing foils repeat bid

Just Rushing, who had won last year's Play the King and then finished third in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile for Attard and the Tuccis, also contested last Saturday's feature but finished a distant last of eight after being in the hunt early.

"He came out of the race fine," said Attard. "He just didn't like the going."

Just Rushing, an 8-year-old gelding, was claimed for $40,000 here in November of 2005 and has won 13 races including six stakes for Attard and the Tuccis.

Change of plans for Ghost Fleet

Attard was surprised and disappointed last Friday when Ghost Fleet, the promising 2-year-old who had been undefeated in two starts, including the six-furlong Vandal, finished sixth under regular partner Kabel when he tried turf for the first time in the seven-furlong prep for the Summer Stakes.

"I scoped him after the race, and checked him out again Saturday, and there's not a thing wrong with him," said Attard.

"Kabel said after the first eighth of a mile he knew he wasn't handling it. He's not a grass horse. It's hard to believe, with his pedigree."

Ghost Fleet, a homebred colt who races for Mel Lawson's Jim Dandy Stable, is out the mare Destroy, whose offspring include turf stakes winners Utterly Cool and the up-and-coming knocking Smokey Fire.

Following Friday's effort, however, Ghost Fleet will not be carrying on to the Grade 3, $300,000 Summer over one mile on turf here Sept. 19.

"I don't want to waste a race," said Attard, who has nominated Ghost Fleet to the $150,000 furlong Swynford and will consider that $150,000 seven-furlong main-track stakes here Sept. 13.

Lady Shakespeare keeps winning

Lady Shakespeare extended her string of winning performances to four and became a stakes winner here Sunday with a 1 1/4-length victory under regular rider Emma-Jayne Wilson in the $167,900 Ontario Colleen for 3-year-old fillies.

The going was rated good for the one-mile Ontario Colleen, and Lady Shakespeare, who had won her debut over 6 1/2 furlongs on firm turf here last fall, had next finished an indifferent sixth when she caught a soft course for the one-mile Natalama.

"She didn't really go into that race well," said Attfield. "She was all over the place, mentally. That's why I put her away after that."

Attfield's instincts obviously have paid off.

Lady Shakespeare, a daughter of Theatrical who was bred in Kentucky by her owner, Charles Fipke, and is a full sister to Woodbine Mile winner Shakespeare, returned this spring with a third-place finish over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Keeneland and has been unstoppable since coming home to Woodbine.

Running through her first two conditions over 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack and 1 1/8 miles on turf, defeating older rivals on each occasion, Lady Shakespeare then reeled off back-to-back wins over one mile on turf in the allowance prep and the Ontario Colleen itself.

Attfield, however, still believes Lady Shakespeare is a work in progress.

"She ran pretty greenly down the lane," said Attfield, who had watched Lady Shakespeare hit the front with about a furlong to run in the Ontario Colleen.

"She probably runs her best races when she gets covered up. She can come out, and give you that run."

With no opportunities to face fellow 3-year-olds remaining on the Woodbine stakes schedule, Attfield will have to improvise on Lady Shakespeare's behalf.

Whether to go out of town to stay with her own age group or to take on older fillies and mares here will be the question.

"I think she's a really classy filly," said Attfield. "I think she might be an E.P. Taylor type of filly."

The Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor, a 1 1/4-mile turf stakes for fillies and mares, will be run here Oct. 17. The final local stepping-stone to the E.P. Taylor is the Grade 2, $300,000 Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf race on Sept. 20.

Deadline near for big weekend

Nominations close at midnight Wednesday for the Woodbine Mile, Northern Dancer, Canadian, Summer, and Natalma.

The Grade 1, $750,000 Northern Dancer, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward, will be run on the blockbuster Sept. 20 program along with the Woodbine Mile and Canadian.

The Summer and the Grade 3, $150,000 Natalma, a one-mile turf race for 2-year-old fillies, go on Sept. 19.

The Woodbine Mile, Summer, and Natalma are Win and You're In races as part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series.