Glenville Gardens is back to defend his title in the $175,000 Play the King Stakes (Gr. 2) for the race’s leading trainer Sid Attard on Saturday, Aug. 19 at Woodbine Racetrack.
After pulling off a 12-1 upset in last year’s Play the King Stakes, Glenville Gardens will be aiming to become the fifth horse to win back-to-back editions of the seven furlong turf event for horses three years old and up. Attard heads into the 32nd edition of the Play the King Stakes tied with trainer Mark Frostad for most wins in the race (four). The Hall of Famer enjoyed a successful run in the Play the King from 2008-2010, but has yet to send out a repeat winner. His previous champions were Just Rushing, Jungle Wave and Smokey Fire.
Bred in Kentucky by Eugene Melnyk, Glenville Gardens was claimed by Attard and his wife Janice for $40,000 as a sophomore. Now five, the Street Cry-Navy Gardens gelding has won half of his 18 career starts while earning $442,160 in purses, and is six-for-nine on Woodbine’s E.P. Taylor turf course.
Glenville Gardens ended the 2016 season with his second Labeeb Stakes victory, but he got off to a lackluster start in his June return to the races finishing seventh in the Connaught Cup Stakes (Gr. 2) before returning to winning form in a July 22 allowance race.
“When he came in this year, he was giving us lots of problems,” said Sid Attard. “We ran him and he ran nowhere; he didn’t run well. So we sent him to the farm for two weeks, he came back, and from there he’s being going like a champ. He’s been going really, really well. My exercise boy and his groom have been doing a fantastic job with this horse. I’ve never seen him so happy like this. He’s going to this race better than last race.”
With Gary Boulanger aboard, the defending champion will face a competitive field including the likes of multiple graded stakes winners Calgary Cat, the 2014 Sovereign Award Champion Sprinter who is closing in on $1 million in career earnings for trainer Kevin Attard, and Tower of Texas, a two-time runner-up in the Play the King Stakes for trainer Roger Attfield.
“It’s a nice race, it’s a kind of a tough race,” said Attard. “To me, it’s a wide open race. There’s some nice horses there.”
Here is a look at the complete field for the $175,000 Play the King Stakes (Gr. 2), which is scheduled as the eighth race on Saturday’s 1 p.m. program:
$175,000 Play the King Stakes (Gr. 2)
Post – Horse – Driver – Trainer – Morning Line Odds 1. We Deer You – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Michael Trombetta – 20-1 2. Tombelaine – Alan Garcia – Chad Brown – 7-2 3. Dowse’s Beach – Rafael Hernandez – Brad Cox – 6-1 4. Glenville Gardens – Gary Boulanger – Sid Attard – 12-1 5. Tower of Texas – Eurico Rosa Da Silva – Roger Attfield – 2-1 6. Calgary Cat – Luis Contreras – Kevin Attard – 3-1 7. Conquest Panthera – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse – 10-1 8. Hootenanny – Jesse Campbell – Wesley Ward – 15-1