By Dick Downey
A winner on both grass and Polytrack, We Miss Artie goes after his first victory on dirt in the Fountain of Youth. Todd Pletcher says there's reason to believe he can get the job done.
We Miss Artie is by Artie Schiller, a multiple graded stakes winner on grass including the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Last year, We Miss Artie won the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity on a rain-soaked main track at Keeneland, and he followed that up with seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, beaten four lengths. He opened his 3-year-old campaign finishing second by a head to Storming Inti after a stretch-long duel in the Kitten’s Joy over the Gulfstream turf. Since then, We Miss Artie has had two breezes at Palm Meadows, each in :48.00 (2/67 and 3/55).
“The bottom is, the horse is just training too well on the dirt at Palm Meadows not to give it another try,” Pletcher said. “His breezes since the Kitten’s Joy have been really good on the dirt, and we just feel like he’s a horse that over the past eight or nine months has continued to impress us with his training on the dirt. We’ll just see where we are.”
“He actually loomed up and made a big move in the Breeders’ Cup," Pletcher said, "and I thought it was a pretty respectable effort. He’s trained so well we feel like he deserves another chance. We know he’s good on the synthetic as well, so we’ve got those options if this doesn’t pan out, but we figured it was time to find out.”
Formerly ridden by John Velazquez and Javier Castellano, We Miss Artie will be ridden by Joe Bravo in the Fountain of Youth and break from post 2. Commissioner, also trained by Pletcher, gets Velazquez from post 1. Castellano will ride General a Rod from post 5.
“In a big field like this, you certainly don’t want to get stuck way outside, although the one probably wouldn’t be my first choice either,” Pletcher said of the draw. “Considering the size of the field, I’m okay with it.
“We’ll size up the field and see what we think the pace scenario is going to look like. Both of these horses are not the kind of horses that you could put on the lead, so we’ll try to get a good stalking position and hopefully secure some position going into the first turn. Those guys are going to have to size it up from there in a big field.”