We Miss Artie Takes Spiral Stakes’ 50 Derby Points By a Nose
FLORENCE, Ky. (March 22, 2014) – With John Velazquez aboard, We Miss Artie found more and then a little more still in the stretch to take the $550,000 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes (G3) by a nose over the all-heart Harry’s Holiday at Turfway Park Saturday. A head behind in third was Coastline.
Offering 50 points to the winner toward Kentucky Derby (G1) qualification, the Spiral Stakes victory pushed We Miss Artie to the top of the Derby list with 60 points and $544,000 in non-restricted stakes earnings.
“It really was (a great closing run)—very exciting,” said winning trainer Todd Pletcher, reached by phone. “I wasn’t sure he got there but am very excited to see that he did. It looked like speed was holding up all day. Johnny had him in a good place and it looked like he was finishing steadily, but it was just a matter of whether he would get there.”
The Spiral Stakes was a thriller from start to finish as Solitary Ranger, Almost Famous, and Harry’s Holiday broke side by side by side in posts eight, nine, and 10 and quarreled over the lead through the first half-mile. Almost Famous dropped out first as Harry’s Holiday took the lead from the three-quarters mark and into the stretch, contending still with Solitary Ranger for another furlong and facing a new threat from Coastline.
But as Harry’s Holiday was out-gunning the speed of the race, We Miss Artie was steadily picking off horses. Seventh through half and third at the top of the stretch, he dug in the length of the lane to just get up.
“I was a little wide going into the first turn but I found a nice spot down the backside,” said Velazquez. “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.”
After a quick pace of :22.78 at the quarter, :47.21 at the half, and 1:12.43 for three quarters, We Miss Artie finished the 1 1/8-mile Spiral in 1:52.26.
Jeff Ramsey, son of winning owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, was on hand for the win. “We really liked him today,” the younger Ramsey said. “He won a Grade 1 on the Polytrack before (the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland) and he was training really well. I didn’t really think we had it (the photo). It was very exciting.”
Ken Ramsey’s Kentucky Derby ambitions are no secret, a fact Pletcher acknowledged when asked about future plans for his winning Artie Schiller colt. “I don’t think that will be much of a discussion, with Mr. Ramsey. We were hoping (We Miss Artie) could get us there and he did.”
We Miss Artie went off the 7-2 second choice and paid $9.20 to win, $5.80 to place, and $4.20 to show.
Bred in Ontario by Richard Lister, We Miss Artie is out of Athena’s Gift, a Fusaichi Pegasus mare. The Spiral Stakes win increased his earnings to $609,000 and his record to three wins and two seconds in eight career starts.
Finishing fourth and behind were Asserting Bear, Big Bazinga, All Tied Up, Arctic Slope, the 2-1 favorite Tamarando, Solitary Ranger, Poker Player, Almost Famous, and Smart Cover.
The Spiral Stakes also offered 20 points to the runner-up, which are available to Harry’s Holiday should his connections choose to meet the late Triple Crown nomination deadline by 11:59 p.m. ET the day of the qualifying race.
Both Coastline and Asserting Bear already are nominated to the Triple Crown and earned 10 points and five points, respectively.