Ring Weekend Opens 7-Year-Old Season a Winner

West Point Thoroughbreds' multiple graded stakes winner Ring Weekend had not visited the winner's circle since November of 2016, but he found his way back in his 7-year-old season opener Feb. 11 at Gulfstream Park

The Graham Motion-trained Tapit  gelding showed his class in the $53,000 optional-claiming allowance going a mile over the turf. 

"He broke his maiden four years ago during the opening weekend of the Winter Olympics, and four years later we start the Winter Olympics and he's still winning," West Point Thoroughbreds' Terry Finley said. "He's a beautiful horse."

Under jockey Jose Ortiz, Ring Weekend settled off the pace in sixth as Hockey School set fractions of :24.21, :47.18, and 1:10.18 through six furlongs. Making his move, Ring Weekend swung five wide at the top of the stretch and ran down the leaders to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Profiteer, Saham, and Hieroglyphics rounded out the first four finishers in the field of eight. The final time was 1:34.75 over the turf rated firm.

The win was his first since the 2016 Seabiscuit Handicap (G2T) at Del Mar. While the chestnut runner's lone top-level score came in the 2015 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (G1T), he's won a total of six graded stakes, running on both turf and dirt. As a 3-year-old, he won the 2014 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and ran fifth in that year's Preakness Stakes (G1) before making the switch to turf. 

Bred by Gainesway Thoroughbreds, out of the Cryptoclearance mare Free the Magic, Ring Weekend was a $310,000 purchase at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale by West Point and St. Elias. With his 8-5-3 record from 29 starts, the gelding has earned more than $1.5 million.