GEORGETOWN, KY – JUNE 28, 2021 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement farm in Georgetown, KY, has welcomed new retiree Ring Weekend.
Owned and campaigned by West Point Thoroughbreds and trained by Graham Motion, the Grade 1-winning gelding retired from racing in 2018 and was originally sent to retrain for a second career with Olympic gold medalist Phillip Dutton, but a recent injury prevented his further progress.
“Ring showed incredible promise as an Event prospect, so I was devastated when he sustained a career-limiting injury during his turnout,” said Dutton. “I wish Ring Weekend all the best in his new prestigious retirement home,” Dutton added, “and thanks to everyone that followed and supported him—he’s a remarkable horse.”
Following his recovery Ring Weekend was sent to Julie Lake’s Ship Oak Farm in Massachusetts where he spent 14 months as a pleasure horse, but soundness issues again hampered his success.
“Ring spent his days hacking out on miles of trails, galloping along Crane beach in Ipswich, and learning to walk out with the Myopia hounds,” said Lake. “But after careful consideration by everyone who loves him, the decision was made to relocate him to Old Friends where he can truly retire and live out his life without any more work or stress.”
By premiere sire Tapit, out of the Cryptoclearance mare Free the Magic, Ring Weekend had both longevity and versatility on the race track. In all he captured six graded stakes in his six-season career, winning on both the dirt and turf. His victories as a 3-year-old include the GR2 Tampa Bay Derby on dirt and GR3 Hill Prince Stakes on turf. At 4 he scored big in the GR1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes at Santa Anita before being laid up for more than a year with hoof issues. But he returned to form at age 6 to take the GR2 Dixie Stakes and the GR2 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga, both on the turf.
Ring Weekend retired with an overall record of 8-5-4 from 33 starts and earnings of $1,571,576.
“Ring Weekend took his partners on a great ride, competing at 14 different tracks and in 25 stakes races,” said Erin Birkenhauer, Racing Manager/Director of Communications for West Point Thoroughbreds. “The West Point team is incredibly appreciative of the work done by Graham and Anita Motion, Phillip and Evie Dutton, and Julie Lake over the past few years. They are all true ambassadors for off-the-track Thoroughbreds,” Birkenhauer continued. “Many thanks to Michael Blowen and the team at Old Friends for welcoming Ring with open arms. We can't wait to visit him at his forever home.”
“Ring Weekend had the most elegant way of going and was a pleasure to watch,” said Anita Motion. “He retired from racing in 2018 with earnings of more than $1,500,000 and the decision to send him to Phillip and Evie Dutton to try as an event horse was unanimously made by the West Point partners. He showed promise from the beginning but then sustained a freak injury. We are truly grateful to Old Friends for accepting him, and we hope that this will mean his many fans and admirers can visit, I know we will.”
“We’re so excited to be associated with Ring Weekend and all of his previous caretakers--Graham and Anita, Julie Lake, West Point, and Philip Dutton,” said Old Friends Founder and President Michael Blowen. “I was at Saratoga when Ring Weekend won the Bernard Baruch and it was thrilling. Almost as thrilling as the sunny Saturday afternoon he arrived at Old Friends.”
Photo: Ring Weekend arrives at Old Friends (Photo courtesy Old Friends)