We Miss Artie added an element of suspense Saturday on the Kentucky Derby trail when he waited until the final possible second to push his nose in front to win the $550,000 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park.
We Miss Artie was in seventh as the field went by the stands the first time in the 1 1/8-mile race and settled just off the front pack on the backstretch. Almost Famous and Solitary Ranger switched the lead back and forth for the first half, setting fractions of :22.78 and :47.21 with We Miss Artie just a few lengths behind.
While We Miss Artie made a 5-wide move on the turn, it looked like it wouldn’t be enough as he seemed to stall in the stretch while running in third. But jockey John Velazquez asked the colt to accelerate as they approached the finish line and he dug in to get there just in time. It took a photo to separate We Miss Artie from Harry’s Holiday and Coastline, but in the end he earned the win by a nose over Harry’s Holiday with Coastline another head back in third.
“I was a little wide going into the first turn but I found a nice spot down the backside,” Velazquez said. “Right at the sixteenth-pole I had to drift away from them, so he didn’t have to work so hard. Then I was able to get up at the wire.”
This wasn’t the first graded stakes victory for We Miss Artie. He also won the Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity on synthetic Polytrack surface at Keeneland Race Course last fall for trainer Todd Pletcher. Turfway’s track surface also is Polystrack, so while We Miss Artie is accomplished on all-weather surfaces he still is looking for his first graded stakes victory on dirt.
The Artie Schiller colt banked 50 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard and with 60 total points there is no doubt he’ll be in the Kentucky Derby starting gate on the first Saturday in May as long as he remains healthy.
WE MISS ARTIE PUNCHED HIS KENTUCKY DERBY TICKET
Photo by Eclipse Sportswire
“We have three potential [horses for the Kentucky Derby]. This one is in, of course … we won’t give him any more prep races,” said Ken Ramsey, who owns We Miss Artie along with his wife, Sarah. “I think [trainer] Todd [Pletcher] wants to bring him back to Florida so he can train him down here.
“We’ve got three shots this year [for the Kentucky Derby], it would be nice to have three horses entered in the Kentucky Derby and only have to have 17 others to beat.”
The Ramseys bought We Miss Artie at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale for $90,000. He is the second starter produced Athena’s Gift, who is a daughter of Grade 2-placed stakes winner Russian Bride. We Miss Artie already has a bit of Kentucky Derby class in his family as his broodmare sire [mother’s father] is Fusaichi Pegasus, who won the 2000 Kentucky Derby.
We Miss Artie went off at odds of 3.60-to-1 and paid $9.20 to win. Tamarando, favored at 2.30-to-1 odds, finished eighth.
For an Equibase chart, click here.
VICTORIOUS WE MISS ARTIE RETURNS TO WINNER'S CIRCLE
Photo by Eclipse Sportswire