08/25/2011 12:32PM

Woodbine: Court of the Realm seeks to make amends in Play the King


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Court of the Realm was on top of the world heading into the Grade 3 Seagram Cup, riding the crest of five straight wins. He was sent off as the even-money choice while racing with Lasix for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack stakes here at Woodbine on Aug. 6.

But, after finishing sixth there after dueling on a moderate pace under jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva, Court of the Realm will have to prove himself all over again in Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Play the King.

The Play the King, a seven-furlong turf stakes, is positioned as the major local stepping-stone to the Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile on Sept. 18.

Court of the Realm had won the Grade 2 King Edward at one mile on turf when making his stakes debut and second start of the season here June 25.

“It was weird; it was just not his day,” said Da Silva, looking back on Court of the Realm’s Seagram Cup effort when he visited trainer Peter Berringer’s barn along with his agent, Tom Patton, on Thursday morning.

“I couldn’t feel anything wrong. It was kind of a racing mystery. I really wanted to have an answer for the trainer, but I didn’t.”

Berringer, who sent out Court of the Realm to blow out three furlongs in a bullet 35 seconds here Thursday under exercise rider Ricky Browne, didn’t have any definite answers either.

“It just didn’t set up for him,” said Berringer, who conditions Court of the Realm for the Oxbridge Farm of Ming Fong and Sandra Albus and his mother Joan Berringer’s Aurora Meadows.“Eveything’s fine. You can just throw the race out.”

Berringer does not believe Court of the Realm will be at any disadvantage when switching surfaces and cutting back in distance for the Play the King.

“He’ll run on either surface, and he’s won twice at seven furlongs already on Polytrack,” said Berringer.

“It will be tougher, with these horses, but hopefully he shows how good he is and he’ll be running a mile on turf here in September.”

Three intriguing invaders for Play the King

The Play the King attracted a field of 12, which includes the cream of the local crop plus invaders Great Mills, Havelock, and Mikoshi.

Great Mills, a 3-year-old colt conditioned by Steve Asmussen, is scheduled to ship in from Saratoga.

Alan Garcia has picked up the mount on Great Mills, who won the Quick Call over 5 1/2 furlongs of turf in his latest.

Havelock, a 4-year-old gelding who is based at Churchill Downs with trainer Darrin Miller, became a stakes winner last time out in the Arlington Sprint over 5 1/2 furlongs of turf.

Jermaine Bridgmohan retains the mount on Havelock.

Mikoshi, a 5-year-old horse trained by Michael Matz, is coming off a third-place finish in the Sussex Stakes over 1 1/16 miles of turf at Delaware Park. Hiroki Goto has the call for the Play the King.

Joining Court of the Realm in the local contingent are Fatal Bullet, Gypsy Ring, Grand Adventure, Jungle Wave, Riding the River, Signature Red, and Stormy Lord

Occasional View, sharp winner of a second-level allowance race over 6 1/2 furlongs of turf here Aug. 13, was supplemented to the Play the King at a cost of $4,000.

A homebred 3-year-old colt who races for owner George Strawbridge, Occasional View is trained by Carolyn Costigan and again will have David Moran in the irons.

Arepeatee tunes up for Kenora

Arepeatee, a 4-year-old gelding whom Tiller owns in partnership with Howard Fishman, breezed five furlongs in 1:01 on the main track here Thursday and should make his next appearance in the Sept. 5 Kenora.

The Kenora, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward, is one of six $125,000 stakes for products of the local yearling sales which will be offered on the Labor Day program.

Arepeatee is coming off a third-place finish in the Aug. 10 Shepperton, which was a 6 1/2-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward.

Race for Gold, a 4-year-old gelding who is trained by Tiller but owned by The Very Dry Stable, finished second there, a head before Arepeatee, and also is Kenora-bound after finishing fourth in the race last year.

Doyoubelieve, a 4-year-old gelding whom Tiller conditions for the 3 Sons Racing Stable of Monty Muthulingham, also is under consideration for the Kenora.

Tiller has won the Kenora on five previous occasions, most recently with You Don’t Pass in 2009.

His previous Kenora successes came with Twisted Wit, in 2006; Dave the Knave, 2005; Forever Grand, 2003; and Laser Quest, 1998.

◗ Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson will be at Saratoga on Saturday to ride Moonshine Mullin for trainer Reade Baker in the Grade 1, $1 million Travers. Wilson has made two trips to Saratoga this summer, finishing second aboard both Moonshine Mullin in the Grade 2, $500,000 Jim Dandy and Rahy’s Attorney in the Grade 1, $500,000 Sword Dancer.