11/26/2016 8:48PM

Ring Weekend wins Seabiscuit Handicap to cap big day for Motion, Van Dyke

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Benoit & Associates
Ring Weekend, with Drayden Van Dyke aboard, wins the Seabiscuit Handicap by a head over Vyjack.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Ring Weekend did not need a fast pace to display his late rally in Saturday’s $201,035 Seabiscuit Handicap on turf at Del Mar.

Typically, Ring Weekend has benefited from quick rivals to help his closing style. On Saturday, Om and What a View set a moderate pace of 24.21 seconds for an opening quarter-mile and 48.48 for a half-mile. Ring Weekend was sixth behind the leaders on the backstretch before unleashing a wide rally that carried him to the front in the stretch.

The wide rally gave Ring Weekend his second Grade 2 stakes win in his last four starts, preceded by a victory in the Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga in September.

The win gave trainer Graham Motion and jockey Drayden Van Dyke a sweep of the two stakes at Del Mar on Saturday. They teamed to win the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante Stakes at a mile on turf for 2-year-old fillies with Journey Home.

Ring Weekend ($8) ran 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:42.29.

“We knew he had that kick,” said Alice Clapham, Motion’s assistant.

Vyjack, the winner of the Grade 2 City of Hope Mile at Santa Anita in October, closed well to finish second by a head, a half-length in front of Om, the 3-2 favorite.

Hunt finished fourth, followed by A Red Tie Day, What a View, Hi Happy, and Stylistics United. The Seabiscuit Handicap was the American debut for Hi Happy, the 2015 Argentine Horse of the Year. Hi Happy had won his first six starts in Argentina.

The first three finishers ran in Breeders’ Cup races at Santa Anita earlier this month. Ring Weekend was seventh in the BC Mile, Vyjack was seventh in the BC Dirt Mile, and Om was second, beaten a nose, in the BC Turf Sprint.

Ring Weekend finished 3 1/2 lengths behind Tourist in the BC Mile after racing in traffic earlier in the race. Clapham said Ring Weekend was unsettled before the start, which hurt his chances.

“He was a little restless in the gate and broke slow,” Clapham said of the BC Mile. “That messed him up, and he lost position. He was better today.”

Ring Weekend, a 5-year-old gelding by Tapit, has won 7 of 20 starts and earned $1,448,744 for the partnership of West Point Thoroughbreds and St. Elias Stable.

Ring Weekend has won six stakes, including the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in 2015. Clapham said Ring Weekend will be among “10 or 12” horses Motion plans to have stabled in Southern California this winter.