Back on Polytrack after a 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), We Miss Artie took charge in upper stretch and held off a tenacious Majestic Sunset to win the $150,000 Plate Trial Stakes (VIDEO) at Woodbine June 15.
Sent off at 1-5 odds in the seven-horse field, We Miss Artie was comfortably settled into fifth on the rail as 16-1 shot Majestic Sunset posted pedestrian fractions of :24.07 for the opening quarter-mile and :49.39 for the half-mile in the 1 1/8-mile test, while being closely tracked by Man o' Bear and Man Cave.
As Alan Garcia and Majestic Sunset began to separate from the rest of the field rounding the second turn, Javier Castellano moved We Miss Artie off the rail into the center of the track and took a slight advantage in upper stretch. With the favorite continuing his momentum, Majestic Sunset hung in for the stretch run before grudgingly yielding to the winner.
With only a few taps from Castellano on the shoulder, We Miss Artie strode to the wire in 1:50.78, three-quarters of a length in front of Majestic Sunset.
We Miss Artie paid $2.70, $2.10, and $2.10, with Majestic Sunset worth $7.20 and $4.10. They combined for a $16.50 exacta. Tower of Texas closed well under Gary Boulanger for third, at $2.70. The order of finish was completed by Rhythm Blues, Man o' Bear. Ascot Martin, and Man Cave.
The Plate Trial, a prep for the July 6 Queen's Plate—the most prestigious race in Canada—marked the fourth lifetime victory in 10 starts for We Miss Artie, who is three-for-three on Polytrack. The 3-year-old Artie Schiller colt has earned $691,908.
"He was boxed in there (for a while)," said assistant trainer Ginny De Pasquale. "For a moment, you get a little nervous but we knew he would come through in the end. He's got a big heart, found an opening and went on. Javier just kind of saved him at the wire a little bit.
"Actually he trains very well on the dirt track at Saratoga," De Pasquale said. "He breezes well, He gallops well but obviously his preference for racing is on the Polytrack, which he's shown, since he's now three for three."
"I had a lot of patience," Castellano said. "The way we handicapped the race, there wasn't much speed. The horse didn't break that sharp. I just took my time, schooled him a little bit behind horses and let him find his best kick. My target is the Queen's Plate. Turning for home, when I asked a little bit, he responded. He gave me a good kick."
Last year We Miss Artie scored a clear victory in the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland, and this year, in his start before the Derby, We Miss Artie rallied late to win the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes (gr. III) at Turfway Park.
Bred in Ontario by Richard Lister out of the Fusaichi Pegasus mare Athena's Gift, We Miss Artie was a $90,000 purchase from the Cara Bloodstock consignment at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale.