05/19/2012 12:08PM

Woodbine: Gypsy Ring in sharp form for New Providence

Michael Burns
Gypsy Ring, with Justin Stein aboard, wins the Debut Stakes on opening day at Woodbine. He returns in the New Providence on Monday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Gypsy Ring, a Sovereign Award finalist for Canadian champion sprinter last year, will clash with rival Paso Doble on Victoria Day holiday Monday in the $125,000 New Providence Stakes.

Gypsy Ring has been among the more consistent sprinters at Woodbine. He would have won more than seven races had he not had hanging tendencies, which is something that jockey Justin Stein has had to deal with.

Gypsy Ring finished a lapped-on second in the 2010 New Providence, registering a 100 Beyer Figure in the six-furlong event. Last year, he took the restricted Overskate Stakes by a neck over Paso Doble, and was a close third in the Grade 1 Nearctic Stakes on the grass.

Gypsy Ring beat a relatively weak field over five furlongs opening day in the Debut Stakes, a five-furlong dash for Ontario-sired stock. Owner-trainer Paul Buttigieg said he was tickled with the performance.

“I didn’t think it was long enough,” said Buttigieg. “I didn’t know if he could get into gear, but being sharp, you never know. I didn’t really work him hard into the race, because he ran late last year.”

Gypsy Ring has worked three times since the Debut, to Buttigieg’s satisfaction.

“He’s doing really well,” said Buttigieg. “You have to have company for him. He only works as fast as he has to. He only does as much as he has to, and that’s it.”

Paso Doble faces Gypsy Ring again on Monday. Paso Doble had a lucrative 2011 campaign, winning 4 of 9 starts and nearly $270,000. He got a 90 Beyer for winning for New Providence, and an 88 Beyer for taking the Shepperton, another Ontario-sired stakes.

Paso Doble has started twice at the meet in open stakes company. He rallied for third in the six-furlong Jacques Cartier, and was also third traveling seven furlongs two weeks ago in the Grade 3 Vigil. Essence Hit Man, Canada’s reigning champion sprinter, won both races.

“He just might need a little easier company,” said trainer Mark Casse.

Executive Five was a front-running second in the Debut, beaten a half-length. He came back 15 days later to prevail in a 5 1/2-furlong first-level allowance, earning an 85 Beyer.

Creeping Barrage, who drew the 1-hole in the five-horse field, could link up on the lead with Executive Five. Creeping Barage beat a decent field of Ontario-sired runners in a 5 1/2-furlong allowance when scoring for the third time in a row April 27.

Completing the field is Red Eagle, who was fourth in the Debut.