We Miss Artie earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile when he won the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire).
Making the Grade, which will run through the 2014 Belmont Stakes, focuses on the winners of the big races, usually from the previous weekend, who could impact the next Triple Crown. We’ll be taking a close look at impressive winners and evaluating their chances to win classic races based upon ability, running style, connections (owner, trainer, jockey) and pedigree.
This week we take a closer look at We Miss Artie, winner of the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity on Oct. 5 at Keeneland Race Course.
We Miss Artie made his first start on a synthetic surface a memorable one when he took home the $240,000 winner’s share of the $400,000 purse for the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity and punched his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
We Miss Artie
Dark Bay or Brown Colt
Sire (Father): Artie Schiller
Dam (Mother): Athena’s Gift, by Fusaichi Pegasus
Breeder: Richard L. Lister (Ontario)
Owner: Ken and Sarah Ramsey
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Ability: With a Grade 1 win to his credit at two, it’s safe to say that We Miss Artie is an elite talent. His two career wins, however, came in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland Race Course on a synthetic Polytrack surface and on the grass in a maiden race at Saratoga Race Course. So it is fair to ask if he will be as good on a dirt main track down the road in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile or on the 2014 Triple Crown trail.
His lone start on dirt was a runner-up finish in his career debut in July at Belmont Park that produced an Equibase Speed Figure of 75 that is in line with the figures he recorded in his four career starts. In fact, his debut produced a speed figure one point better than the Breeders’ Futurity win. There is the issue, he has yet to post an Equibase Speed Figure above 80 in his four races, meaning he will have to improve significantly in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to have a realistic chance.
Running style: After stalking the pace from second or third in the early stages of his first three career starts, We Miss Artie changed tactics for the Breeders’ Futurity, when he dropped back to ninth early and won the race with one powerful closing rally. Perhaps trainer Todd Pletcher and regular jockey John Velazquez found his preferred running style in the Breeders’ Futurity or maybe We Miss Artie is a versatile colt and a horse willing to listen to his rider’s instructions. Within a few starts, we should have a better feel for how We Miss Artie prefers to run.
WE MISS ARTIE (red cap) SURVIVED A DOWNPOUR TO WIN THE BREEDERS' FUTURITY
Photo courtesy of Keeneland
Connections: Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey are in the midst of an absolutely dominant season, leading all owners by North American purse earnings, graded stakes wins and stakes wins. The Ramseys 16 graded stakes wins are double the next owner on the list, Juddmonte Farm, and the Ramseys have more than triple their closest pursuer in the stakes wins category. Two-time Eclipse Award winners as outstanding owner, the Ramseys have won two Breeders’ Cup races with Furthest Land (2009, Dirt Mile) and Stephanie’s Kitten (2011, Juvenile Fillies Turf).
Five-time Eclipse Award winner Todd Pletcher has won two of the last three editions of the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile with Uncle Mo in 2010 and Shanghai Bobby in 2012. Four of his seven Breeders’ Cup wins have come with 2-year-olds. Pletcher secured his first win in the Kentucky Derby with Super Saver in 2010. He won his first classic in 2007 when Rags to Riches became the first filly to win the Belmont Stakes since Tanya in 1905.
Previous Making the Grades
Pedigree: We Miss Artie is from the fourth crop of 2005 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller, who won 10 of 22 lifetime starts and earned $2,088,853. All ten of Artie Schiller’s wins came on the grass. Most of his success at stud so far also has been with turf runners, although it seems Artie Schiller also sires high-quality stakes performers on synthetic surfaces. We Miss Artie won the Breeders’ Futurity and My Conquestadory – a graded stakes winner on grass – won the Alcibiades Stakes to give Artie Schiller a sweep of Keeneland’s Grade 1 fall races for 2-year-olds on its Polytrack surface. A son of very nice sire El Prado, Artie Schiller already has 19 stakes winners in four crops of racing age and seems very capable of siring horses who get better as the races get longer. However, it definitely looks like the majority of his best runners will excel on turf.
Athena’s Gift, by Mr. Prospector, is the dam of We Miss Artie. He is one of two winners from as many starters out of Athena’s Gift and her first stakes winner. Athena’s Gift won two of nine career starts with both wins coming on grass at a mile and 1 1/8 miles. His second dam (maternal grandmother), Russian Bride, was a stakes winner on grass and runner-up on the main track in the 1993 Comely Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile, Grade 2 race at Aqueduct. Russian Bride is a half-sister (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to German Oaks winner Risen Raven.
We Miss Artie has a nice pedigree that indicates longer-distance races should be well within his reach, but both his paternal and maternal influences slant heavily toward turf. That could be prohibitive if We Miss Artie lands on the Triple Crown trail in 2014 and, more immediately, if he is entered in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The hunch here is that We Miss Artie’s best races will be on turf or synthetic surfaces.