Photo: SV Photography
All eyes were on the trio of favorites in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs.
Instead of morning line second choice Conquest Titan making a better accounting
at a fairer track, Vinceremos completing the Sam F. Davis/Tampa Bay Derby
double, or Surfing U S A grabbing his first graded stakes score, newcomer Ring Weekend entered the fray and
exited with 50 points toward getting in the starting gate on the first Saturday
Breaking from the rail under jockey Daniel Centeno, Ring
Weekend sprinted straight to the lead. Surfing U S A and Tuscan Getaway went with him early, and the opening quarter went
in 23:62. Those two could not keep pace, however, and Ring Weekend opened up on
them and the rest of the field by 3 ½ lengths at the ½ mile call, passing that
poll in 46:68. The gelding hit the ¾-mile call in 1:11.41, clear by 5 lengths,
and led by as much as 8 lengths at one
Behind him, Tuscan Getaway, part of the pace in the early
stages, gave way and was through after the first half. Vinceremos was kept back behind the leaders, pressing the pace
while having targets to run at when the serious racing began. Cousin Stephen
and Hy Kodiak Warrior made middle moves to get as close as third and fifth
respectively before backing right back out of it.
When the field turned for home, Vinceremos gamely went after
Ring Weekend, but could only close to within 3 lengths of the winner, holding
off third place finisher Surfing U S A by ¾-length. It was another length back
to the post time favorite Conquest Titan.
By virtue of their finishes, Ring Weekend earned 50 points, Vinceremos earned
20 points, Surfing U S A earned 10 points, and Conquest Titan earned 5 points
towards getting into the Kentucky Derby.
The order of finish was completed by Matador, Cousin Stephen, Hy Kodiak Warrior, East Hall, Coltimus Prime and Tuscan Getaway.
Ring Weekend completed the 8.5 furlong Tampa Bay Derby in
1:43.71, just six-tenths of a second off the stakes record set by Street Sense in 2007. Sent off as a
14-1 outsider, Ring Weekend returned $30.00/$10.20/$8.60 for the win. Third
betting choice Vinceremos paid $6.00/$3.80, and fifth betting choice Surfing U
S A paid $5.20 for the show. A $2 exacta wager returned $291.60, the $2
trifecta paid $1,900.80, and the $1 superfecta was worth $3,438.10.
Winning trainer Graham Motion admitted to some lack of confidence going in, stating, “I wouldn’t
say my confidence was high, but I really thought he was legit…I think gelding
him got his mind on the game. I just left the ride to Daniel, I knew he could
take advantage of the post position because the inside was good today and to
just make sure he broke well and put him where he is comfortable. I think the
others kind of left him alone because they possibly didn’t consider him a legit
horse and he got away with it. When the jockey looks behind him that much, you
feel like he has a lot left. I could never have anticipated him winning like
who was aboard Ring Weekend for the win, said after the race that his ride wasn’t
without some anxious seconds, “Coming out of the inside post I had to get him
to start well, but when I got to the first turn it was like he got mad at me
for not letting him run. He wasn’t rank, he was just full of himself and I had
to give him his head. I knew I was clear of the field and I didn’t want to get
run down and I was able to get him to relax and save something for the stretch.
He was looking around getting into the stretch and I was getting concerned, but
when he switched leads he just took off again.”
Hall of Famer Edgar Prado was far from disappointed with how Vinceremos, winner of the Sam F.
Davis, ran. “He did everything just right. We got good position tracking the
group behind the leader. He was relaxed running with other horses like he
usually is and when I asked him to run, he ran past horses quickly. But the
winner was gone,” he explained.
By Tapit, and out of the Cryptoclearance mare, Free the Magic,
Ring Weekend is owned in partnership by St. Elias Stable and West Point
Thoroughbreds. The gelding was consigned to the Keeneland 2012 September
Yearling Sale by breeder Gainesway Thoroughbreds where he was purchased by his
current connections for $310,000. With today’s win, Ring Weekend improved his
career record to 6: 2-1-2 for total earnings of $255,660. Both wins came in his last two starts and were over fast dirt, a surface he had not previously tried until the start prior to today's.