08/26/2011 12:13PM

Woodbine: Attard takes two shots at fourth straight Play the King


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Sid Attard will try to win the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes for the fourth year in a row Sunday when he sends out Signature Red and Jungle Wave in the seven-furlong turf event. The $200,000 Play the King is the prep for next month’s Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, and it should yield several starters for that $1 million fixture.

Signature Red has evolved into one of Woodbine’s best and most versatile sprinters. He won the Grade 2 Highlander Stakes over six furlongs on the grass for the second consecutive year June 26, and is exiting a second to reigning Canadian champion sprinter Hollywood Hit in the Bold Venture Stakes on Polytrack.

Attard felt that Signature Red’s inside trip in the 6 1/2-furlong Bold Venture wasn’t ideal.

“He ran a helluva race,” said Attard. “He was on the rail the whole way, and was closing at [Hollywood Hit] after angling out. If he’d had an outside post, he might have won.”

Attard said Signature Red had an excuse when he was a non-threatening fifth under Chantal Sutherland in last year’s Play the King.”

“He hit his head in the gate so hard that Chantal said he was running dizzy,” Attard recalled. “He had a good shot that day.”

Jungle Wave has run consistently well during the past year, but is winless since his front-running triumph in the 2009 Play the King.

Jungle Wave was heavily favored in an Aug. 6 optional claimer, but got caught on the wire by Gypsy Ring after opening up a clear lead at the eighth pole. Attard said he was upset with the ride that Luis Contreras gave Jungle Wave.

“He should never have gotten beat,” said Attard. “He rode him with too much confidence.”

Jesse Campbell rides Jungle Wave on Sunday.

Grand Adventure is gearing up for a fall campaign. He could only manage third over soft ground at 2-5 in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup Stakes May 29. Trainer Mark Frostad said Grand Adventure has trained encouragingly since finishing sixth in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes June 25.

“He’s been working great,” said Frostad. “The prep for this race didn’t go. He’s going in fresh.”

Stormy Lord captured the seven-furlong Connaught on an uncontested lead. After being rated into oblivion in the Highlander, he won the seven-furlong Ontario Jockey Stakes with a lovely stalking trip.

Court of the Realm had his five-race win streak snapped Aug. 6, when he was a fading sixth in the Grade 3 Seagram Cup Stakes on Polytrack. This will be his second start with Lasix.

Havelock, one of three American shippers in the 12-horse field, captured the July 16 Arlington Sprint Handicap.

Maryland-based Mikoshi is coming off back-to-back thirds in stakes at Colonial and Delaware.

Great Mills took the 5 1/2-furlong Quick Call Stakes at Saratoga in his last outing.