Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey are headed to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby after We Miss Artie won the photo in a thrilling finish to the $550,000 Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park. We Miss Artie also picked up 50 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby points system, which when added to the 10 he earned for his Breeders’ Futurity win, puts him atop the leaderboard with 60 points.
The Todd Pletcher trained We Miss Artie came into the race after finishing a disappointing eighth in the Fountain of Youth (G2), beaten 17 ½ lengths on Gulfstream Park’s dirt. His two wins in five starts came in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) on Keeneland’s Polytrack and the Kitten’s Joy on the turf at Gulfstream Park. The return to synthetic was just what the son of Artie Schiller needed to get back to winning form.
Solitary Ranger, Harry’s Holiday and Almost Famous set a quick pace early before Almost Famous got a head in front and brought the field back to a reasonable pace. As the field began to make the turn from home, Almost Famous quickly dropped out and Harry’s Holiday picked up the lead. Into the finish, Harry’s Holiday battled closer Coastline as We Miss Artie, under jockey John Velazquez, quickly emerged on the outside. The trio crossed the wire together and the photo sign went up. We Miss Artie was declared the winner by a nose over Harry’s Holiday, who had a head in front of Coastline. Asserting Bear was another 1 ¾ lengths back in fourth.
“It was really (a great closing run),” said Pletcher. “Very exciting. I wasn’t sure he got there, but very excited to see that he did.”
“We really like him today,” said Jeff Ramsey, son of the winning owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. “He won a Grade 1 on the Polytrack before and he was training really well. I didn’t really think we had it (the photo). It was very exciting. My dad wasn’t here when Dean’s Kitten won (the Spiral in 2010); he was in Dubai. He is in Florida (today) watching it on TV. Hopefully, we’ll get a really good trip in the Derby. He’s been training on the dirt and getting better. He didn’t like the Fountain of Youth (at Gulfstream Park). That track’s a little different than Churchill.”
Post-time favorite Tamarando finished eighth, beaten over a dozen lengths.“He didn’t get a lot of speed,” said losing jockey Russell Baze. “When I asked him to go, he went for a bit at the eighth pole then quit.”
We Miss Artie returned $9.20, $5.80, and $4.20. Harry’s Holiday paid $13.40 and $8.60 and completed the $2 exacta for $130.20. Coastline paid $7.40 and completed the $.50 trifecta for $310.90. Asserting Bear completed the $0.10 superfecta for 595.25. The final time for the 1 1/8 mile race over the fast Polytrack was 1:52.26.
Photo: J. Oswald