Ring Weekend Wins Seabiscuit
West Point Thoroughbreds and St. Elias Stable’s Ring Weekend made a sweeping move and held off a late challenge from Vyjack to win the $200,000 Seabiscuit Handicap (G2) on Saturday at Del Mar. He earned a 106 Beyer Speed Figure and now has a record 7-4-2 from 20 career starts and earnings over $1.4 million.
This was the sixth graded stakes win for the chestnut son of Tapit trained by Graham Motion. As a 3-year-old he captured the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), Saranac Stakes (G3), and Hill Prince Stakes (G3) before notching his first grade one win in the Kilroe Mile (G1) at Santa Anita in early 2015. Following an extended layoff due to a foot issue, he came back as a 5-year-old to win the Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2) this summer at Saratoga. He’s currently tied with beloved WPT campaigned Awesome Gem for most graded stakes wins under the black and gold.
Motion and jockey Drayden Van Dyke swept the two stakes at Del Mar on Saturday. Earlier on the card, 2-year-old filly Journey Home captured the Jimmy Durante Stakes (G2) Ring Weekend is a special horse for Van Dyke, as the 22-year-old’s first grade one win came aboard the gelding in the 2015 Kilroe Mile (G1).
“Ring Weekend ran well in the Breeders’ Cup, getting beat just over three lengths for everything after a less than ideal start,” said Motion. “I felt the race didn’t take much out of him and he’s lightly raced this year, so it made a lot of sense to keep him out there and point for the Seabiscuit. We’re leaning toward keeping him stabled in California this winter.”
“This race set up on paper that I thought would be perfect for us,” Van Dyke said “Then it played out just that way. It was sweet. We got into the lane and I let him do his thing. He was having a little trouble swapping his leads, but Graham had told me about that and I was ready for it. About the sixteenth pole he swapped to his right lead and that gave us an extra burst. He was good. This is the first time I've won two stakes in one day. Feels good.”
Earlier this year, Olympic level 3-day event rider Phillip Dutton joined the West Point Thoroughbreds partnership group that owns Ring Weekend. Following a busy year competing all over the world, Phillip and his wife Evie attended this year’s Breeders’ Cup. Read about how the Duttons became involved.
“A great group of Partners from all over the country is involved with this horse,” said West Point president Terry Finley. “Included in the group are longtime friend and Partner Rob Masiello, John Haines, a charitable man who travels the world giving sight to the blind, and Scott King, who owned a horse named Arromanches with us in the late 90s.”
West Point and Vinnie and Teresa Viola of St. Elias Stables purchased Ring Weeknd for $310,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Viola and Terry Finley are both graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and named the chestnut colt after an academy traditional where senior cadets are awarded their class rings.
Partners and West Point’s Nancy Dollase celebrating after the race: