Preakness Likely After Ring Weekend Breezes

Preakness Likely After Ring Weekend Breezes
Photo: Maggie Kimmitt, Herringswell Stables
Ring Weekend worked 6 furlongs in 1:13 1/5 at Fair Hill on May 10.

Ring Weekend breezed six furlongs in 1:13 1/5 at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. the morning of May 10 and rappears likely for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

"He galloped out a mile in 1:41. That's what I was most pleased about, how he galloped out," said trainer Graham Motion, whose Preakness prospect was ridden by longtime assistant and exercise rider Alice Clapham.

St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds' Ring Weekend captured the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) and finished second in the Calder Derby, but missed the Kentucky Derby due to a fever. The gelded son of Tapit   missed a few days of action but has been training well since the setback, Motion said.

Motion said earlier that he was inclined to run in the Preakness if Ring Weekend's breeze went well.

"So far, so good," said the trainer, who added that he will continue to monitor Ring Weekend's training before fully committing to the Preakness.

Bred in Kentucky by Gainesway Thoroughbreds out of the Cryptoclearance mar Free the Magic, Ring Weekend has a 2-2-2 mark in seven lifetime starts and earnings of $305,660.

Meanwhile, trainer Wesley Ward was especially upbeat Saturday as he talked about Pablo Del Monte breezing six furlongs in 1:12 1/5 at Keeneland, the colt's final workout for the 139th Preakness.

"He's looking great. Couldn't be doing any better," said Ward, who bred the son of Giant's Causeway   and co-owns the speedy chestnut with Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor.

In a change of plans, Pablo Del Monte, who finished third in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), will be shipped from Lexington to Baltimore May 12 rather than two days later as originally scheduled. He will be one of five Preakness candidates arriving at Pimlico Race Course Monday.

Jockey Jeffrey Sanchez, who will ride Pablo Del Monte in the Preakness, was aboard for the Saturday breeze, which was done in company with High Wire Kitten. Pablo Del Monte's split times over the Polytrack were :12 1/5, :24 4/5, :36 3/5, and :48 4/5, and he galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25.

High Wire Kitten, owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, is headed to Baltimore to run in the Hilltop Stakes the day before the Preakness.

"She has been working very, very well. It's a good workmate for him," Ward said.

High Wire Kitten and Pablo Del Monte have breezed together for about a month.

"Two weeks out from the Blue Grass we put her six or seven lengths in front and it was tough on him to catch her, and he did," Ward said. "John Velazquez worked him that day. I think he ran so hard in the Blue Grass that it had an effect on him, but now he's really getting to her.

"It's everything you'd want to see in the last two works. He's coming into this race as good as he could possibly be and doing everything right."

Rontos Racing's Social Inclusion visited the racetrack at Pimlico extra early Saturday morning for his exercise. Training hours were limited to one hour between 5 and 6 a.m. in order to accommodate "Canter for a Cure," a fund-raising event for breast cancer research that ran between 6 and 11 a.m. EDT.

"He went out at 5. We were happy to do it; 'Canter for a Cure' is such a good cause," said owner Ron Sanchez. "He was full of energy. He really likes the track. He galloped a mile-and-a-half and came back with good energy. He was full of himself. He's settled in at Pimlico really nice."

Sanchez reported that Social Inclusion, who finished third in the Twinspires.com Wood Memorial (gr. I) after winning his first two races impressively at Gulfstream Park, is scheduled to breeze Monday.

Jockey Luis Contreras, who has retained the mount aboard the Manny Azpurua-trained colt, is to be at Pimlico for Social Inclusion's workout.

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