Grand Arch, Ring Weekend Gearing Up For Fourstardave Handicap

Grand Arch (No. 2) holds off Ironicus in the Fourstardave Handicap

After a couple of grass workouts in company with heralded newcomer Brooklyn Bobby in July, Grand Arch went to the main track for a six-furlong workout Thursday.

Gearing up for a defense of his title in next Saturday’s $ 500,000 Fourstardave Handicap, the durable 7-year-old gelding turned in a bullet move in 1:14.55 seconds, the fastest of four at the distance.

“We lost a bit of time with him with the rain we had,” said trainer Brian Lynch. “He went a nice three-quarters on the dirt, got the work into him that we needed, and his energy level is very good.”

A horse for the course, Grand Arch finished a close second in the 2014 edition of the Fourstardave at odds of 11-1, and returned to prevail in a blanket finish last year at 8-1. He finished off a terrific season by winning the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile and running third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

The one-mile Fourstardave has been upgraded to Grade 1 status this year.

“We’re like a heavyweight fighter defending his title,” quipped Lynch. “You’ve got to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee in the Fourstardave.”

Ring Weekend, who ran a remarkable second in the Dixie after being sidelined for over a year by foot issues, breezed six furlongs on the Tapeta surface at Fair Hill on Friday, going the distance in 1:14.60 in company with Messi, winner of last year’s Grade 3 Knickerbocker Stakes at Belmont Park.

The 5-year-old gelding remains on target for the Fourstardave, reported trainer Graham Motion.

“He worked three-quarters with Messi and I was very happy with him,” said Motion, who was thrilled that Ring Weekend nearly won the Dixie despite being carried wide early by Grand Arch.

Due to a foot abscess, the Dixie marked Ring Weekend’s first appearance since winning the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile in March 2015.

Ring Weekend, who has earned over $ 1.1 million, will remain in Maryland until later next week.

“That’s the plan,” said Motion. “We probably won’t bring him until after we enter.”

Entries for the Fourstardave will be taken Wednesday.

Racing – Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

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