07/31/2013 1:53PM

Woodbine: Occasional View favored in Play the King prep

Michael Burns
Big Band Sound wins the 2012 Play the King. He preps for a repeat attempt in Friday's allowance feature.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Occasional View returns to Woodbine in sharp form for Friday’s $89,400 feature, and will likely be favored in the turf allowance, which serves as the prep for the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes on Aug. 25.

Occasional View is based at Presque Isle Downs with trainer Graham Motion, who sent him out to win two allowances there this year on the Tapeta surface. Most recently, he came charging from fifth to score comfortably over the next-out winner Dazzled Saint. He earned a career high 96 Beyer Speed Figure in that six-furlong optional event.

Occasional View ran two solid races here on the grass in 2011. He won a first-level allowance over 6 1/2 furlongs, the distance of Friday’s engagement, and wound up fifth behind Havelock, Riding the River, Fatal Bullet, and Gypsy Ring in the seven-furlong Play the King.

Luis Contreras has the mount on Occasional View, a 5-year-old gelding owned by Augustin Stable.

Big Band Sound captured the 2012 Play the King over future Canadian champion Riding the River before tailing off in the fall. He has struggled in his two starts this year, although his last race, the Grade 3 Highlander Stakes, was taken off the turf and moved to the Polytrack at the last minute.

Dan the Tin Man was expected to race up front in the July 7 Highlander, but he trailed early after getting away slowly. To his credit, he rallied on the outside for third over a track that was kind to speed after taking heavy rain midway through the card.

Dan the Tin Man has never competed on the grass, for which he has some breeding on the dam’s side of his pedigree. Tyler Pizarro will ride the Ricky Griffith-trained 3-year-old.

Triple Cross, another shipper from Presque Isle, is shortening up off a fade job in the Grade 3 American Derby on the grass at Arlington. The 3-year-old would appear to be at his best as a closing sprinter.

There are two accomplished main-track-only entrants, Black Hornet and Consolidator Joe.

Black Hornet is the leading 3-year-old sprinter on the grounds. After ending up fifth in his season opener in the Woodstock Stakes, he won two stakes for his own age group, the Queenston and Achievement. He got a 91 Beyer in the six-furlong Achievement, holding off the talented favorite Langstaff.

Consolidator Joe lowered the 6 1/2-furlong Polytrack record to 1:14.50 when he led throughout his next-to-last outing, an optional claimer. Following a break July 17, he was a non-threatening fourth after racing wide over an inside-biased track in the Grade 3 Bold Venture Stakes.