09/26/2011 1:36PM

Woodbine: Gyspy Ring well spotted in Overskate


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Gypsy Ring bypassed the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile in favor of much easier pickings Wednesday night in the $125,000 Overskate Stakes, a seven-furlong sprint for Ontario-sired runners.

Gypsy Ring started in three Ontario-sired Polytrack stakes earlier in his career, finishing a close second on each occasion. In June of last year, he earned a career-high 100 Beyer Speed Figure when he was beaten three-quarters of a length in the Shepperton.

Gypsy Ring has improved with each subsequent outing this year, while completing exclusively in turf sprints. He placed in back-to-back optional claimers in June and July, before upsetting Jungle Wave at the second allowance level in a 6 1/2-furlong optional event Aug. 6.

Gypsy Ring came from the back of the tightly bunched pack to finish a close fourth most recently in the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes, a seven-furlong prep for the Woodbine Mile.

Trainer Paul Buttigieg said the decision to skip the $1 million Mile was a no-brainer.

“This will be a lot easier for him, and I was worried about the mile, too,” said Buttigieg. “Seven furlongs is better than a mile.”

Buttigieg said Gypsy Ring is versatile enough to handle any footing, although Polytrack isn’t his surface of choice.

“I prefer him on the grass,” Buttigieg explained. “I think he likes the grass a lot better.”

Gypsy Ring has worked a quick five furlongs twice since the Aug. 28 Play the King.

“The horse is awfully good right now,” Buttigieg stressed. “You’d swear it was spring. He’s as good as I’m going to get him. He’s on top of his game.”

Paso Doble should be favored in seeking his third restricted stakes victory of the meet. He took the six-furlong New Providence in May, and is exiting a workmanlike win over a modest field in the 6 1/2-furlong Shepperton.

Paso Doble plied his trade as a front-runner in the past, but has developed an effective stalking style this year in his first campaign for trainer Mark Casse.

“I don’t’ think the seven-eighths will be a problem at all,” said Casse.

Bug’s Boy sprang a monumental upset when he captured the Sept. 5 Halton Stakes on the grass at 74-1. Bug’s Boy is a three-time winner on the Polytrack, over which he breezed five-eighths in a bullet 59 seconds last Wednesday under jockey Omar Moreno. John LeBlanc Jr. trains the durable 8-year-old.

Trainer Ian Black supplemented two horses, Don’s Folly and J J for Dave.