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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Spiral Connections Appraise Chances of We Miss Artie, All Tied Up, Smart Cover


By Dick Downey
@Downey Profile

We Miss Artie will try to turn around a 17-length defeat in the Fountain of Youth by returning to synthetic track in the Spiral Stakes. Connections want to use the race to make it back to dirt in the Kentucky Derby.

The Ken and Sarah Ramsey homebred by Artie Schiller is the 4-1 morning line second choice.

“I’m only 78 years old so I only have about 20 or 25 more Kentucky Derbys ahead of me and I’m trying to take every opportunity to get one there,” Ken Ramsey said, adding he's not willing to say We Miss Artie can't excel on dirt. “Stranger things have happened. The track at Churchill Downs is more forgiving so far as Polytrack horses. Animal Kingdom went over there after the Spiral and won it. This horse might just like the dirt over there more than he did the dirt down at Gulfstream; it’s two different types of dirt. And if it turns up sloppy that might help him.”

Ramsey didn't try to sugarcoat We Miss Artie's poor performance in Florida but says there's a bright future ahead for him as well as Bobby's Kitten, who's pointed to the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.

“He didn’t really have any excuse that we could find out,” Ramsey said. “He came out of the race OK. He’s good enough to be a grade I winner on the Polytrack down at Keeneland. I didn’t want to run them against each other until we get to the Derby. At this stage of the game, we’re just trying to get enough points to get in and if we get enough points to get in we’ll go. The horse has got the quality, I just don’t know if he’s a dirt horse or not.”

Campbell’s Derby Dream Tied to All Tied Up

Cot Campbell is thinking back to the days of Summer Squall with All Tied Up, a Gulfstream Park allowance winner making both his stakes and Polytrack debuts. Todd Pletcher trains him as well as We Miss Artie.

“Being a good turf horse and a horse that’s on the improve and seeking the distance, we thought he deserved a shot in the Spiral,” said Campbell. “He galloped nicely on the racetrack yesterday and we hope all of our strategy is well-founded.”

All Tied Up didn't break his maiden in an elite meet, but every effort since then has been good enough to keep dreams of the Kentucky Derby alive.

“The last four races he’s run, he’s won two of them and was in a position to win the other two if he could get through,” Campbell said. “We think he’s crying for a mile-and-an-eighth. It’s a shot worth taking. We’d love to win it, but we’d be delighted to get a piece of it. He does come from far back and as a result oftentimes in the shorter races he’s been unable to get up because he has nowhere to go.”

Campbell will not be at Turfway Saturday, saying he has a starter in the Aiken Spring Steeplechase in South Carolina the same afternoon.

Smart Cover: Long Live Shot?

Smart Cover comes in to the Spiral Stakes off an 11th-place finish in the Palm Beach Stakes, an effort connections feel was affected by a stumble out of the gate. It was his first start since September, when he injured a shin coming out of the Iroquois.

“We believe Smart Cover is a very live long shot,” said Donegal Racing managing partner Jerry Crawford. “The last race was designed exclusively to leg him up and get him back into shape. We had zero expectations in the last race but thought a mile-and-an-eighth on the turf was a good prep for this race. We know he’s trained very forwardly since that race. He may be a race away from peaking. Whether he does it or not, who knows, but I firmly believe him capable of winning on Saturday.”

Smart Cover broke his maiden on the turf at Ellis Park in his second start, a gritty performance that saw him get up by a nose after repeated bumps. In his third start, he made a huge late run in the Iroquois on the Churchill dirt to finish a neck behind undefeated stablemate Cleburne and a neck ahead of Tapiture. But he has never raced on Polytrack.

“You never know, right?” Crawford said. “He is eligible to do just fine on it, particularly given the influence of Smart Strike. The longer the horses go, the better Smart Cover is going to be.”

“We have very high hopes for him," Crawford continued. "He’s very much in the same mold as Donegal horses that have finished third in the Kentucky Derby two of the last four years (Paddy O’Prado in 2010 and Dullahan in 2012) in that he’s bred to run a mile-and-a-quarter. We know he loves Churchill Downs, so if we can just get him eligible by finishing first or second on Saturday then we’ll have to decide if we run in the Blue Grass or just train up to the Derby, like Animal Kingdom. If we don’t get him eligible on Saturday, then we go on to the Blue Grass.”

“A fair amount of my confidence comes from the fact that he seems to have moved forward,” Crawford concluded. “Corey Lanerie was on him for his last breeze and rode him in the Palm Beach, and he says he’s a different horse now.”

The Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes is the 11th of 12 races on Saturday’s card at Turfway. First post is 1:10 p.m. Post time for the Spiral is 6:28 p.m.


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