04/11/2012 12:14PM

Woodbine: Gypsy Ring just gets up in Debut Stakes

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Michael Burns
Gypsy Ring, with Justin Stein aboard, wins the Debut Stakes on opening day at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Gypsy Ring, runner-up to Essence Hit Man in the Sovereign Award voting, also was nominated to the Jacques Cartier but instead faced Ontario-sired company here in the $100,000 Debut on opening day. Despite trainer Paul Buttigieg’s concerns about the Debut’s five-furlong distance, Gypsy Ring was the prohibitive choice under regular rider Justin Stein. Gypsy Ring prevailed but, as his wont, his victory did not come easily.

“I was scared it was too short,” said Buttiegieg, who also is the owner and breeder of the 6-year-old Gypsy Ring. “But I figured if he came running, the way he likes to do, he’d be right there.

“He makes the lead and stops. He likes to hang; you can’t hide that. The horse is too smart. You can’t do anything about it.”

Gypsy Ring should get a little more ground to work with in his next start as Buttigieg plans to keep him in Ontario-sired company for the $125,000 New Providence at six furlongs here May 21. Farther down the road, Buttigieg will be looking at the June 24 Highlander, a six-furlong turf race that offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $200,000.

“I don’t want to race him too much,” said Buttigieg. “If I spot him right, he’ll earn his keep.”

Buttigieg has had some bad luck with a couple of members of his stable of homebreds this spring, as his stakes-winning gelding Officeinthevalley and stakes-placed True Executive both are nursing injuries back on the farm.

Officeinthevalley, a 5-year-old, won the 2010 Vice Regent over one mile of turf.

“I had to stop on him; he’ll be a fall horse,” said Buttigieg.

True Executive finished second in the seven-furlong Frost King and third in the 1 1/16 mile Kingarvie here last fall.

Meanwhile, Buttigieg is looking forward to the return of Memories of Silver, a 3-year-old filly who finished second here in last fall’s 1 1/16 mile South Ocean.

“I’ll let her go through her conditions,” said Buttigieg.