02/19/2015 11:55AM

Ring Weekend uncertain to run in Canadian Turf

Barbara D. Livingston
Ring Weekend (outside) drew post 14 for the Canadian Turf and may scratch unless there are several defections that would allow him to move inside.

It could be an eventful 30-plus minutes in the life of trainer Graham Motion.

One race after he sends out Main Sequence for the dual champion’s much-anticipated seasonal debut in the Mac Diarmida, Motion is scheduled to saddle Ring Weekend for the Grade 3, $150,000 Canadian Turf, a one-mile turf race that shapes up as one of the best on a blockbuster Saturday program at Gulfstream Park.

However, after being assigned post 14 in the two-turn Canadian Turf, it’s questionable whether Ring Weekend actually will start.

Jeff Lifson, spokesman for West Point Thoroughbreds, which co-owns Ring Weekend with St. Elias Farm, said Thursday: “We’re not scratching right now, but without a bunch of defections, we’ve got to look at alternatives” such as the Kilroe Mile two weeks later at Santa Anita.

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Last year at 3, Ring Weekend emerged as an outstanding grass performer in the middle-distance range by winning the Saranac and Hill Prince stakes in New York. Assuming he stays in Saturday, he figures to be favored under John Velazquez in a deep field that includes Excaper, Jack Milton, Sky Blazer, and Long On Value as top challengers.

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As the 10th of 12 Saturday races, the Canadian Turf follows the Mac Diarmida and directly precedes the Fountain of Youth Stakes.

◗ Earlier on the card, another big field will assemble on the grass course in the $75,000 Ladies Turf Sprint Stakes, the only non-graded event among the eight Saturday stakes.

Good Deed, a winner in 9 of 16 career starts, will be in from New Orleans off two rousing Fair Grounds victories as the likely favorite in a cast of 13.

Canadian Turf, race 10


Ring Weekend (Last 3 Beyers: 85-96-100)

◗ After winning those back-to-back Grade 3 races in New York, he didn’t exactly have the most comfortable of trips when finishing a close-up sixth in an undercard stakes on Breeders’ Cup Friday at Santa Anita last fall. Motion has been effusive in his praise of how Ring Weekend has trained.

Excaper (Last 3 Beyers: 93-91-93)

◗ Scratched from an easier allowance spot at Gulfstream several weeks ago, this Grade 2 winner comes favorably drawn on the hedge and figures prominently at every call under Jose Lezcano.

Jack Milton (Last 3 Beyers: 81-99-101)

◗ Really came to hand last spring for Todd Pletcher in back-to-back triumphs before tailing off slightly in late summer. He shows a series of strong works at Palm Beach Downs toward this.

Ladies Turf Sprint (race 7)


Good Deed (Last 3 Beyers: 97-97-82)

◗ Klein family homebred stands a chance to become a national leader in this niche, and trainer Steve Margolis is giving her every chance to prove as much by shipping her out of familiar territory. Several of her winning efforts in this category have been simply spectacular.

Fascinate (Last 3 Beyers: 92-87-85)

◗ Ever-improving mare has won five of her last six starts at a variety of venues and gets Velazquez named toward extending that impressive record.