Blacktype, Ring Weekend Head International Turf Cup
From the Blood-horse
Jump Sucker Stable’s Blacktype could be the bridge from the Commonwealth Turf Cup and the renamed Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup (G2T) Sept. 30 at Laurel Park.
Blacktype, a French-bred son of Dunkerque trained by Christophe Clement, prevailed by a half-length in last year’s Commonwealth Turf. He returns to Laurel to try to become the first repeat winner of the one-mile race on the grass.
The Baltimore/Washington International drew a field of eight that includes grade 1 winner Ring Weekend, multiple grade 2 winner Tower of Texas, and a pair handled by Eclipse Award winning trainer Chad Brown: Projected and Catapult.
Blacktype, who drew post seven, won his most recent start, a 1 1/16 miles optional claimer Sept 9. at Belmont Park. Prior to his Commonwealth Turf Cup victory in 2016, Blacktype won the Oceanport Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park. Horacio Karamanos will ride Blacktype Saturday.
Ring Weekend, co-owned by St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds, is a well-traveled, accomplished veteran who leads the Baltimore/Washington International field with more than $1.5 million in earnings. He picked up his grade 1 victory in the 2015 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1T) at Santa Anita Park. He also has wins in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), Seabiscuit Handicap (G2T), and Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2T) among others. He is winless in seven starts this year, but trainer Graham Motion saw some positives in his most recent race, a fourth in the Sept. 4 Bernard Baruch on a yielding turf course at Saratoga Race Course.
“I think he’s probably not quite the horse he was, though his numbers are still very solid with this group of horses,” Motion said. “He’s a little bit more laid back perhaps than he was, which shows in his races. He tends not to get so involved early in the races. I actually thought his last race at Saratoga was strong enough against what’s the stronger group of horses that we have on the East Coast.”
This will be Ring Weekend’s 28th career start, but his first at Laurel. He will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado. The gelded son of Tapit has been at Motion’s stable at the Fair Hill Training Center at Elkton, Md. and the trainer said the Baltimore/Washington International is a good fit.
“I was hoping that by getting him local and getting him back to a mile, which I think is really his trip, I would get him in a better spot,” Motion said. “This will probably be his last race this year and then we’ll give him 60 days and freshen him up for the spring. He really hasn’t had a break. He’s been going at it pretty good. He’s earned a break.”
Trainer Roger Attfield will saddle Tower of Texas, an Ontario-bred owned by Thomas Van Meter II and Scott Dilworth. Tower of Texas, a son of Street Sense, earned his second graded stakes victory in June in the seven-furlong Connaught Cup Stakes (G2T) at Woodbine. He won the one-mile King Edward Stakes (G2T) in 2015. He drew post three and will be ridden by Jesse Campbell.
Nik Juarez will ride Juddmonte Farm’s Projected from post two for Brown. Projected was the runner-up in three listed stakes in France for Andre Fabre in 2015 and was sent to the U.S. for the 2016 season. This year he’s had one victory and three seconds in seven starts. He was second to World Approval in the Longines Dixie Stakes (G2T) May 20 and second by a neck to Ballagh Rocks in the Poker Stakes (G3T) at Belmont.
Catapult, owned by Woodford Racing, is a son of Kitten’s Joy. A four-time winner in 11 starts, he is seeking his first graded stakes victory. Feargal Lynch will ride the 4-year-old colt from post four.
Completing the field are the Irish-bred Glorious Empire, the 8-year-old Xmas Sky, twice a winner on the Laurel turf, and Special Ops, who has won two of three starts for trainer Mike Maker since being claimed in June by Skychai Racing.