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Mar 28, 2014

We Miss Artie rallies to win Spiral Stakes


Florence, KY ( - We Miss Artie did not let an outside post prevent him from rallying to victory in Saturday's $550,000 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park.

The 1 1/8-mile Spiral is an important race on the road to the Kentucky Derby. Winning the race is worth 50 points for a start in the Run for the Roses on May 3.

Ridden by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, We Miss Artie went off as the 7-2 second pick in the 12-horse field of 3-year-olds. Tamarando, winner of the El Camino Real Derby, was the 2-1 favorite with local stakes winner Solitary Ranger the 6-1 third choice.

The pace in the Spiral was set by Solitary Ranger with 15-1 longshot Harry's Holiday and 13-1 outsider Almost Famous right with him on the lead.

We Miss Artie, trained by Todd Pletcher, began to rally around the final turn and moved into fifth from the outside as Harry's Holiday took over the lead along with Coastline, the 8-1 fourth selection.

With a furlong to run, Harry's Holiday and Coastline were right along side each other as We Miss Artie continued to gain ground down the middle of the track. With just yards until the finish, We Miss Artie moved past Coastline into second drawing even with Harry's Holiday approaching the wire.

We Miss Artie and Harry's Holiday hit the wire together with Coastline a head back in third. The photo showed that We Miss Artie nosed out Harry's Holiday for the Spiral Stakes victory.

"I was a little wide going into the first turn," Velazquez said, "but I found a nice spot 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."

Finishing fourth was Asserting Bear followed by Big Bazinga, All Tied Up, Arctic Slope, Tamarando, Solitary Ranger, Poker Player, Almost Famous and Smart Cover .

The time for the Spiral was 1:52.26 on Turfway's synthetic main track.

"It looked like speed was holding up all day," Pletcher noted. "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."

Owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, We Miss Artie adds $282,000 to his earnings. The colt has won three of eight career starts for $609,000. The 50 points from the victory should put We Miss Artie in the Kentucky Derby field of 20 3-year- olds.

Coming into the Spiral, We Miss Artie finished eighth, 17 lengths behind Wildcat Red in last month's Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. He began the year with a second in Gulfstream's Kitten's Joy Stakes on the grass.

"We really liked him today. He won a Grade I on the Polytrack before and he was training really well," said Jeff Ramsey the owners' son. "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 (Kentucky) Derby. He's been training on the dirt and getting better. He didn't like the Fountain of Youth (at Gulfstream). That track's a little different than Churchill."

We Miss Artie won for the first time in his second career start last August at Saratoga. He was sixth on the turf in the With Anticipation Stakes but won the Breeders' Futurity on Keeneland's synthetic main track.

In his final start of 2013, We Miss Artie was seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile over Santa Anita's dirt track.

We Miss Artie returned $9.20, $5.80 and $4.20. Harry's Holiday paid $13.40 and $8.60, and Coastline paid $7.40 to show.

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