6 WPT Runners at Gulfstream This Weekend
It’s a big weekend for WPT Partners, with six horses facing the Gulfstream starter from Saturday-Monday. WPT president Terry Finley and EVP Clif Hickok are in route to sunny South Florida. Terry is certainly happy to be headed to the Sunshine State, there’s snow in the forecast in Saratoga Springs all weekend.
Things kick off Saturday in the first race with Graham Motion trained 3-year-old Ring Weekend. A son of Tapit, Ring Weekend is trying the turf for the first time following two third place finishes in the fall.
He’s been working side by side with recent maiden winner Can’thelpbelieving (IRE) and has given every indication that he’s sitting on a big effort. In case you’re wondering, Ring Weekend is a tradition at the United States Military Academy where senior cadets are awarded their class rings.
Later in the card, the newly turned 4-year-old filly Toasting is DRF.com’s best bet of the day. She takes on six Florida-bred fillies and mares in the $300,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Distaff.
This daughter of Congrats is in an excellent form cycle for trainer Tom Albertrani. She notched her first stakes win in the October 20th Dream Rush Stakes at Belmont before just missing in the November 30th Comely Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct. A change in running style and change in pilot to Jose Ortiz have greatly contributed to her dramatic improvement. Expect her to be flying late. Click to watch the replay of the Comely.
Rounding out the day in the last race on Saturday is WPT 3-year-old filly Chief Dante. She looks to rebound from a disappointing effort last time out while uniting with Toasting’s jockey Jose Ortiz for the first time.
On Sunday, the 6-year-old veteran Grip Hands is picked on top in the second race. He’s won three of his last five and is back with vengeance after a troubled trip in the December 7 Claiming Crown at Gulfstream. He was blocked and then boxed in down the lane before galloping out in front. A horse with natural speed, expect him to be forwardly placed early under Julien Leparoux.
It’s always fun to unveil a first time starter, especially one who is a half sister to a grade one winner. She’s Justified, half sister to Dance to Bristol, makes her debut in Sunday’s sixth race at Gulfstream for trainer Dale Romans. A gorgeous gray filly, she’s been working forwardly at Palm Meadows. Purchased by Terry Finley at the 2012 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, She’s Justified is by top sire Harlan’s Holiday.
Rounding out the long weekend is our newly turned 3-year-old filly True Blue Nation. A winner at first asking in June for Tom Albertrani, she didn’t fire in two stakes appearances this summer. Freshened after the Spinaway at Saratoga, she put some minor physical issues behind her and ready to kick off the year.
Best of luck to all our Partners and runners this weekend!