Saturday, October 4, 2014

'Weekend' grabs the brass ring in G3 Hill Prince

The New York Racing Association, Inc.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


'Weekend' grabs the brass ring in G3 Hill Prince


By Jon Forbes


ELMONT, N.Y. - Ring Weekend proved he can handle soft turf by making a late charge to win the Grade 3, $500,000 Hill Prince for 3-year-olds on Saturday at Belmont Park.


Seeking his second straight stakes score, Ring Weekend raced behind cover along the hedge through slow fractions of 26.20 seconds for a quarter-mile, 52.18 for the half, and 1:17.97 for three quarters. After splitting horses in midstretch, he forged to the front under Irad Ortiz, Jr.'s drive to prevail by a half-length. Runner-up Daddy's Kid, who closed from seventh, finished three-quarters of a length in front of third-place finisher Smooth Daddy.


Ring Weekend, the 9-5 favorite, returned $5.70 for a $2 win wager and completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:55.56.


"He broke out of there and put me in a good position," said Ortiz. "I took hold, he relaxed, and he took off when I asked him."


In his previous start, Ring Weekend won the Grade 3 Saranac by 2 ¾ lengths over "good" turf on September 1 at Saratoga Race Course. He is 2-2-0 in four turf starts and 4-3-2 in 12 starts overall. On the dirt, he won the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby in March.


Ring Weekend is trained by H. Graham Motion for owners West Point Thoroughbreds and Vincent Viola's St. Elias Stable.


Terry Finley, president of West Point Thoroughbreds, said he and Motion had a brief telephone discussion about whether they should try Ring Weekend on soft ground.


"Graham Motion had called me [to discuss about running Ring Weekend over soft turf]," said Finley. "He's over at the Arc. He kind of threw it on me. I've been around the business. I threw it right back on him. We felt pretty comfortable."


Pumpkin Rumble finished fourth and was followed by Blacktype, Grade 1 Belmont Derby winner and 2-1 second choice Mr Speaker, Sheldon, Sloane Avenue, and Cabral. Tourist was scratched.                          



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