Appearing not to be making much headway in deep stretch of Grade 3, $523,380 Spiral at Turfway Park, We Miss Artie nonetheless refused to quit. When the dueling leaders, Harry's Holiday and Coastline, began to shorten stride inside the sixteenth pole, We Miss Artie grinded his way into a three-way photo, which the son Artie Schiller won by a nose over Harry's Holiday, with Coastline another head behind in third.
Owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, We Miss Artie captured Turfway's leading Kentucky Derby prep in a time of 1:52 1/5 for 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack. The 7-2 second choice in the wagering, he paid $9.20.
We Miss Artie, who was kept in the clear outside in the third flight of horses down the backside, improved his position around the far turn. Harry's Holiday, who pressed Solitary Ranger and then Almost Famous through splits of :22 3/5 and :47 1/5, seized a narrow lead after six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 and then braced for the oncoming challenge of Coastline.
In the stretch, Coastline drew even with Harry's Holiday but could not get past that rival. We Miss Artie, who made a five-wide bid turning for home, remained in the five path all the way to the wire and eventually prevailed in a thrilling finish.
"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."
Asserting Bear crossed the wire in fourth and was followed by Big Bazinga, All Tied Up, Arctic Slope, 2-1 favorite Tamarando, Solitary Ranger, Poker Player, Almost Famous, and Smart Cover.
Runner-up in his debut over dirt at Saratoga, We Miss Artie returned to take a turf maiden by three lengths at the same track, but was only sixth in his graded stakes debut in the With Anticipation. He rebounded to take the Breeders' Futurity over the Keeneland Polytrack by 2 3/4 lengths, and concluded his freshman campaign with a seventh-place effort in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita.
Second by a head in the Kitten's Joy over turf at Gulfstream on January 9, We Miss Artie preceded this win with an eighth in the Fountain of Youth. His record now stands at 8-3-2-0, $609,000.
Pletcher more or less confirmed We Miss Artie for the Kentucky Derby, for which he earned 50 qualifying points by winning the Spiral.
"I don’t think that will be much of a discussion, (given that the owner is) Mr. Ramsey," he said. "We were hoping he could get us there and he did."
Bred in Ontario by Richard Lister, We Miss Artie was purchased for $90,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He is out of the winning Fusaichi Pegasus mare Athena's Gift, a daughter of Grade 2-placed stakes winner Russian Bride.