5/16/2014 8:00 AM
By By Mike Farrell Associated Press
BALTIMORE (AP) - Fair Hill, Md.-based Ring Weekend will try to become the eighth gelding to win the Preakness, and the first since Funny Cide in 2003.
The middle jewel of the Triple Crown has not always welcomed geldings. Bowing to pressure from breeders interested only in developing mares and stallions, the Preakness banned geldings from 1920 through 1934.
Ring Weekend was gelded following a 2-year-old season in which he managed only a pair of thirds in three starts.
"He was quite a tricky horse to be around," trainer Graham Motion said. "We also felt he was showing more in morning training than he was in the afternoon. It gave us reason to think there was more there, and perhaps getting his mind more focused would help."
In addition to the mental aspects, Ring Weekend also had an undescended testicle that might have physically hampered him.
Whatever the reason, the procedure worked.
He has two wins and two seconds in four races this season, including a victory in the Tampa Bay Derby.
A fever this spring cost him several days of training, knocking him out of consideration for the Kentucky Derby.
Ring Weekend arrived at Pimlico shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday after a short van ride from Motion's barn at the nearby Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md.
He was the last of the 10 Preakness runners to report, and is 20-1 on the morning line.