Photo: SV Photography
The Tampa Bay
merry-go-round was held on Saturday. The
track’s many—time leading rider Daniel Centeno
committed theft when he sent Ring Weekend to the lead in the beginning stages
of the Tampa
Bay Derby. Dismissed at 14-1 odds by
bettors and evidently, his competition, the Graham Motion
trainee never received a challenge in the Grade 2 race. The son of Tapit opened
up a five length lead at one point while setting moderate fractions. He galloped under the wire three lengths in
front of Vinceremos. That one raced in contention the whole way
and overtook stable mate Surfing USA by ¾
of a length under the wire. Surfing USA raced second the entire way before
being passed and wound up third.
Weekend traveled the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.71.
The final time was comparable to last year’s winner Verrazano (1:43.96)
and 2012’s victor Prospective (1:43.35). The son of Tapit has a 6-2-1-2
($255,660) record and earned 50 points in the Kentucky Derby points system.
(Tapit - Free the Magic, by Cryptoclearance) was a 2012 Keeneland September
Sales Yearling purchased by West Point
Thoroughbreds & St. Elias Stable.
The chestnut gelding placed in four of his first five starts before finally
breaking his maiden in his last start before the Tampa Bay Derby.
Ring Weekend is by the pretty gray stallion Tapit, who won the 1
1/8 mile Wood Memorial impressively, but suffered a career-ending injury before
the Kentucky Derby.
stud, Tapit has
proven his versatility, getting winners over all surfaces. The majority of his
offspring are best up to 1 1/8 miles, although he has sired three winners at 1
¼ miles; Alabama Stakes (G-1) heroine Careless Jewel, Hawthorne Gold Cup (G-2)
victor Headache, and Testa Matta, winner of the Japan Dirt Derby (Gr. 1). He is also the sire of 2011 Champion
Juvenile, Hansen. From seven crops of racing age, Tapit has sired four champions,
28 graded stakes winners and 47 stakes winners. The pretty gray is the late
Pulpit’s most successful son at stud. He has been among the top five leading
sires in the last four years.
Weekend’s dam Free the Magic was more precocious than her son, winning her
maiden in her first attempt. Racing on
the Florida circuit, Free the Magic was an allowance class runner and placed in
three stakes. The versatile mare won from five furlongs on dirt to 1 1/16 miles
over the lawn. During a racing career that spanned just two years, Free the
Magic compiled a 15-4-2-4 ($78,789) race record.
Free the Magic is a very competent
broodmare. Ring Weekend has one full sibling
and four half siblings of racing age. All have visited the winners’ circle and
one, Bamboo (by Meniffee) is stakes placed. Free the Magic also has an unnamed
two year old Corinthian filly.
Weekend has a unique distaff line two generations back. His well-traveled second
dam Pompoes was bred in Denmark. She won the Swedish Criterium (Swe-G2) and Danish
Criterium (Den –G2). Shipping to
France, Pompoes finished second in the Criterium Des Pouliches (FR-G1) and
third in the Prix De La Grotte (FR-G3). The mare raced four times in the US and
her best placing was third in the Suwannee River Handicap.
Free the Magic, Pompoes bore her full brother Flash of Joy, winner of the Old
Ironsides Stakes at Suffolk Downs. Pompoes also bore Forest Wind (by Green Forest) who won the Mill
Reef Stakes (Eng-G2) and placed in stakes in the US. Her daughter Three Generations (by Alydar)
was a multiple stakes winner in France and the US. Pompoes is also the great-grand-dam
of two Argentinian graded stakes winners. Pomopes’ full brother Pompus placed
in the Dansk Kriterium (Den-G1).
Weekend’s sire and dam are descended from the same Lowes Female Family 3-o, but
the lines split in the late 1800’s. When both the sire and dam of a horse trace
back to the same foundation mare (in this case Black Corrie), this is called a
Formula One breeding pattern. The formula one breeding pattern is found in a
small percentage of the Thoroughbred population and horses with this type of
breeding can present a better than average performance on the track and in the
breeding shed. The sire Quiet American, plus
Group 1 winners Gaviola and Tapitsfly are good examples of formula one
breeding. In fact, Tapitsfly (by Tapit) is descended from another branch of the
the damsire of Ring Weekend, competed at the highest level of racing for four
years. The FloridaDerby champ
finished fourth in the 1987 Kentucky Derby, but followed up with second and
third place finishes, respectively, in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
Cryptoclearance improved with maturity. Racing against legendary heroes
Alysheba, Easy Goer and Crème Fraiche, Cryptoclearance was often second, but at
the age of five, he won two Grade 1 events, the 1 1/8 mile Donn Handicap and 1
¼ mile Widener Handicap.
As a broodmare sire, the long-winded router is
represented by 42 stakes winners. While the majority are best up to 1 1/8
miles, five are stakes winners at 1 ¼ miles. The Brazilian-bred colt Quadriballl
has similar breeding to Ring Weekend, as he is by a son of A.P. Indy out of a Cryptoclearance
mare. Ring Weekend is by a grand-son of A.P. Indy. Quadriballl is a stakes winner at 1 ¼ miles.
Ring Weekend’s second damsire, the French-bred
Belmont, won the Group 3 Prix Eclipse. He was sent to the USA, but
failed to win in four starts, so he was sent back to France and then stood at
stud in Denmark.
The bloodline cross of
Tapit has sired six foals, five starters, four winners and one stakes winner
from Tapit mares. Neither his sire Pulpit nor his second sire A.P. Indy were
bred to Cryptoclearance
Ring Weekend is a beautifully balanced chestnut
gelding. He has a long neck that ties into a well-angled shoulder. His withers
aren’t overly pronounced and his short back leads to huge, powerful
hindquarters. Ring Weekend’s legs appear well-conformed. The colt has a smooth stride with an
excellent leg extension. He runs straight without excessive movement or
paddling. Pedigree wise, Ring Weekend’s
sire and damsire have previously produced winners at classic distances and this
colt has the conformation to substantiate his breeding.
We always see late-developing colts spring up
on the Kentucky Derby trail in March and April. Ring Weekend fits this pattern
with a slight twist. The colt made his
debut at Saratoga last August and started four times until winning his maiden
in February. He’s won on the lead and from off of the pace. A veteran of six
starts, Ring Weekend has the experience to become a serious threat as distances
stretch out and he appears to be improving at the right time. An argument can be made in the “who did he
beat” category, since the Tampa Bay Derby isn’t known for attracting marquee
names. That debate can be true of most
of the preps this year and we won’t have the answer until they pass the finish
line in the Kentucky Derby. Until he
proves otherwise, Ring Weekend is a colt to keep on your Derby watch list.