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Spiraling Out Of Control

Posted by on 3/24/2014 9:21:29 PM

The bourbon was flowing Saturday at Turfway Park when We Miss Artie took one more step toward the Kentucky Derby by winning the Spiral Stakes in game style.

Solitary Ranger made the lead in the Spiral and he took them through the first quarter in :22.78. By the time they got to the half-mile, Almost Famous had his head in front after a :47.21 split.

That lead was short-lived Harry’s Holiday, who was getting a super 3-hole trip, got to the top after 6 furlongs and had a short lead at the top of the lane.

Then it got interesting. Coastline was right there sitting third but We Miss Artie swooped in while 5 wide to get up by a nose with a final time in 1:52.26 while earning an 85 Beyer Speed Figure.

As far as his trip was concerned, rider Johnny Velazquez needed all of his talent, Velazquez: “I was a little wide going into the first turn, but I found a nice spot going down the backside. 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.”

Trained by Todd Pletcher, who else, We Miss Artie is really bred for grass being by Artie Schiller. That sire was a turf superstar winning several Graded stakes including the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He never won at a mile and a quarter but was only beaten a half-length at that distance on grass in the Grade 1 Manhattan.

We Miss Artie’s dam Athena’s Gift was also turf only but she did win at 9 furlongs.

Interestingly, Animal Kingdom ran a bit slower in 2011 in the Spiral when clocked in 1:52.32, yet he went on to victory in the Kentucky Derby.

Once called the Jim Beam Spiral Stakes, when sponsored by the whiskey maker, some powerful horses have won this race over the years.

Summer Squall, Hansel, Lil E. Tee, Serena’s Song, and Hard Spun have cashed in this fixture and last year Black Onyx won for the third time in 5 starts when he came from midpack to win going away while earning a 90 Beyer.

Looking forward, We Miss Artie will have to prove he can win on the conventional dirt. Last year, after bobbling at the break in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he pressed the issue and had aim at the top of the lane before faltering. He opened up his year with a tough beat in a $100,000 Kitten’s Joy Stakes on grass before trying the Fountain of Youth. Pletcher has confidence in this guy, Pletcher: “The horse was been training too well on dirt since the Kitten’s Joy not to give him another opportunity. He impressed us again Sunday morning and now is the time to see where we are with him. If he runs well, we’ll have plenty of dirt options.”

Pletcher had to call an audible to get him to Turfway but now he has a Derby starter.

Owned by the Eclipse Award winning owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, the couple could have three starters in the Kentucky Derby if Vicar’s in Trouble and Bobby’s Kitten continue to thrive.

The rich get richer.

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