The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry. When the Gulfstream overnight came out on February 18, there was a pit in our stomachs. West Point Thoroughbreds’ and Saint Elias Stable’s talented four-year-old Ring Weekend was slated to make his 2015 debut in the Canadian Turf Stakes on February 21….until he drew post 14 of 14. The team consulted with trainer Graham Motion and plans changed. The son of Tapit worked on Monday at Palm Meadows before heading out West to California.
The trip proved worthwhile as Ring Weekend became racing’s newest millionaire and notched his first grade 1 win in the $400,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile on Saturday at Santa Anita. He showed an electrifying turn of foot, rallying from eighth to first in just a quarter mile after being caught six wide on the turn. The effort earned him a 104 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest for 2015 turf races.
Partner John Haines was interviewed by Michelle Yu and several excited Partners and their families toasted to Ring Weekend in the Santa Anita paddock after getting their picture taken.
The win was extra special to jockey Drayden Van Dyke, who was named champion apprentice jockey of 2014. Now a journeyman, the Kilroe was his first grade 1 win.
“It feels amazing to win my first grade 1 for a trainer like Graham Motion,” 20-year-old Van Dyke said. “I’m very blessed. I expected (Ring Weekend) to show more speed than he did today. I tried to be as patient as I could. I swung out when I saw Summer Front. I was so far outside, I tried to cut back in to let my horse see him and my horse just kicked on from there. I got to breeze Ring Weekend on the turf last week and he worked amazing. I never moved on him. He came back well and really fresh.”
Terry and Debbie Finley watched the race with longtime Partners Rob and Mike Masiello from Frankie’s Sports Bar outside of Gulfstream Park. When Ring Weekend turned for home full of run, the whole restaurant turned to see why four people were yelling and screaming so loud!
“Kudos to Graham and his team for having this horse ready to fire off a freshening,” said Finley. “I appreciate Graham being flexible and changing directions quickly after we drew a terrible post at Gulfstream. It’s amazing how much this horse has grown up both physically and mentally over the past year. We toyed with the idea of running him in the Gulfstream Turf Handicap last month, but I’m glad we waited as he got a few more works under his belt. I tip my cap to Drayden Van Dyke, he rode this horse perfectly and has a bright future.”
“I just loved how mature he was,” said Robert Masiello. “He relaxed so well, made a huge sweeping move on the turn, and even switched leads at the eighth pole in full stride which has always been a problem for him. Often times when horses make big, wide moves like that they don’t gallop out much, but he was quickly four or five lengths past Summer Front after the wire. He has a shot to something really, really special.”
Ring Weekend is now under strong consideration for the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) on Kentucky Derby day, Saturday, May 2 at Churchill Downs.
Ring Weekend Partners in the winner’s circle: