Dimension, ridden by David Moran, blistered his way to a front-running tally in the Grade 2, $201,600 Play The King Stakes, Sunday at Woodbine.
The five-year-old British-bred gelded son of Medicean-Palatial, sent postward a 10-1 outsider in a highly competitive renewal of the seven furlong turf stake, rocketed from the gate and never looked back, crossing the wire in 1:19.89, just three-fifths of a second off the course record.
Excaper finished second, two and one-quarter lengths behind, with Riding the River coming on for third, a half-length further back. Favoured Go Blue or Go Home was right behind the leaders turning into the stretch, but couldn't gain and wound up fourth.
Pressed by Danger Bay and Excaper through an opening quarter in 22.24, Dimension turned up the heat, reaching the half in a sparkling 44.26.
In mid-stretch, Excaper, the 3-1 second choice, took his best shot at the front-runner but to no avail, as Dimension not only kept on going, but widened nearing the wire.
Trained by Conor Murphy for Riverside Bloodstock, Dimension first surfaced at Woodbine last month, finishing an excellent second, just a neck behind crack sprinter Essence Hit Man in the six and one-half furlong Bold Venture over the Polytrack.
On Sunday, it was back to his usual surface, turf. While he hadn't won in five North American starts since arriving from England, Dimension had kept good company.
“He's a very nice horse, very uncomplicated,” said Moran. “When he ran down Essence Hit Man like that, I mean he had every shot today and proved it. And he galloped out really well afterwards. They would never have got by him from the quarter-pole. He was all horse.
“I thought there would be a little more speed. Conor had said to me, though, that a couple of his previous races were better from the front. So when I had him carrying me like that on the rail, I said that will do me until I get to the turn.”
Explained Murphy, who is based at the Skylight Training Center in Goshen, Kentucky just outside of Louisville, “His best trip in England and Europe was always seven furlongs, on a good, galloping track like this (Woodbine). He was in the Firecracker at Churchill (Downs) back in June. But it rained very heavy a couple of hours before the race (eventually won by U.S. Horse of the Year Wise Dan). He's a horse who loves fast ground so we took him out of there.
“With this race in mind, I was going to run him in an allowance over seven on the turf course, but I had a look at the Bold Venture and there were only five runners, so we'd have a crack. He ran so well there.”
The Play The King has served as a prep in past for the Ricoh Woodbine Mile, so it's still possible that Dimension will meet the defending champion Wise Dan on September 15.
Dimension paid $23, $9.90 and $7.10, combining with Excaper ($4.80, $3.50) for a $119.70 (1-4) exactor. A 1-4-6 (Riding the River, $4.50) triactor returned $607.70, while a $1 Superfecta [1-4-6-8 (Go Blue or Go Home)] rewarded backers with a $968 payout.
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