Ring Weekend’s Win in the Saranac (G3) Shutters the Saratoga Stakes Schedule in Style
West Point Thoroughbreds’ and St. Elias Stable’s Ring Weekend easily disposed of his six sophomore rivals Monday’s $300,000 Saranac Stakes (G3T) as the 3:2 favorite closing day at Saratoga.
Ridden patiently by jockey John Velazquez, the chestnut son of Tapit hugged the hedge most of the way on a good Saratoga turf course as he tracked the pacesetter Smooth Daddy. When asked turning for home, Ring Weekend charged to the front and won drawing away by almost three lengths. The final time for the contest was 1:46.48.
Ring Weekend finished a strong second on the Spa turf in his last start, the Sir Cat Stakes, in which he earned a career best 98 Beyer number, so it was no surprise to West Point Thoroughbreds president Terry Finley that he was capable of producing another strong effort. "He's a beautiful moving horse, but I thought he was probably a little better on the grass,” said Finley. “He broke his maiden at Gulfstream on the dirt, so we pushed on and ran him in the Tampa Bay Derby. When you win the Tampa Bay Derby, you've got to push on to the (Kentucky) Derby and the Triple Crown. But in the back of our minds, we talked all the time about that (running on turf). I think he's such a good mover on the turf, I think we've found a home, at least for now. It’s good to have a three-year-old that can really run at this time of the year."
"There was not much speed other than the two horses that were on the lead here," Johnny V. said. "I was a little concerned that I might be a little stuck inside and I was right behind the horse that I thought at least had a chance to take me to the quarter pole. I was pretty tight on the hedge all the way around and he handled that really well. I got to the five-sixteenths pole and got him to the clear and the rest was pretty easy."
Trainer Graham Motion said, “ I had always had in mind that we might get him back on the grass because his numbers on the grass were very good and I always thought he handled the grass very good."
One of the possibilities being evaluated for Ring Weekend’s next start is the $500,000 Hill Prince Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park on October 4.