08/25/2007 12:00AM

'Le Cinquieme' repeats in Play the King


Le Cinquieme Essai ($10.30) captured the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes for the second year in a row Saturday at Woodbine.

Le Cinquieme Essai led throughout the seven-furlong turf sprint, setting moderate fractions of 24.13 seconds and 47.98 under Steven Bahen. He prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Just Rushing, who pressed him most of the way along the inside. Awesome Action wound up third, and favored Leonnatus Anteas faded to fifth in the eight-horse field.

"I was hoping to stalk the pace, but the turf was very soft, and he dragged me out to the lead," Bahen said. "I just tried to slow him down as much as possible, to save something for the end. When I asked him to kick on, he did."

Le Cinquieme Essai covered the distance in 1:26.28. Trained by Paul Nielsen, he banked $120,000 of the $201,200 purse for owner William Scott.

* Bear Holiday ($3.20) extended his unbeaten streak to three races with a half-length score over front-running Struck in Traffic in the supporting feature for 2-year-olds, the $100,400 Silver Deputy Stakes. With Jerry Baird aboard, Bear Holiday completed 6 1/2 furlongs on the Polytrack in 1:17.32. He earned $60,000 for Bear Stable and trainer Reade Baker.

* Essential Edge ($4.60) won Saturday's other stakes under Jono Jones, the $75,400 Belle Geste for fillies and mares. Over a course labeled good, Essential Edge ran seven furlongs in 1:24.24, while defeating Count to Three by three lengths.