HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Two months after running seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), We Miss Artie kicks off his 3-year-old campaign in Sunday’s $100,000 Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Todd Pletcher considered all options in looking for a spot to bring back We Miss Artie, a son of Grade 1 turf winner Artie Schiller who broke his maiden on the grass at Saratoga Race Course last August.
“He’s trained well on the dirt, but basically he’s run well on all three surfaces,” Pletcher said. “We just felt like the turf was a logical place to bring him back. We won’t rule out trying him on the dirt again at some point.”
Owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, We Miss Artie finished sixth of seven after being caught wide on both turns in his stakes debut, the With Anticipation (G2) at Saratoga on Aug. 29. He rallied to win the Breeders’ Futurity by 2 ¾ lengths in his next start, earning a trip to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup.
In the Juvenile, he bobbled at the break before settling in along the rail while awaiting room near the half-mile pole. Steered wide in the stretch by jockey Javier Castellano, We Miss Artie made a bid before tiring to seventh though beaten only four lengths.
“I actually thought he ran pretty well in the Juvenile,” Pletcher said. “It’s a tough race. He loomed up in the middle of the turn like he had a shot and he just leveled off a little bit, but it was a good effort.”
We Miss Artie has breezed four times since the Juvenile, given a break from a Dec. 1 breeze to his bullet half-mile work in 47.30 seconds at Palm Meadows on Jan. 7, the fastest of 76 horses. Most recently, he went a half in 49 on Jan. 13.
“The horse has been training really well,” Pletcher said. “We tried to freshen him up a little bit and he seemed to respond to it. His last few breezes have been quite good.”
Pletcher has also been pleased with the way We Miss Artie, the program favorite, has developed from his juvenile season, as well as his versatility.
“Physically, he’s doing well,” he said. “He’s gained some weight, he’s filled out and he’s making that physical transition you like to see one make from two to three. It’s great. You can point for races on the turf and not have to worry if they come off. At the same time, you know he’s good on the turf and his best race so far was on the synthetic, so we have a ton of options.”
Storming Inti takes a three-race win streak into the Kitten’s Joy, having captured back-to-back one-mile turf stakes in the Awad at Belmont Park on Oct. 27 and the Pulpit on opening day of Gulfstream’s Champions meet, Nov. 30.
Trained by Chad Brown for Santa Rosa Racing Stables, Storming Inti has had five works since the Pulpit, most recently a half-mile breeze in 48 4/5 on Jan. 12 at Palm Meadows.
“He’s on a nice winning streak and he’s training good, so it seems like a logical spot for him,” Brown said. “He’s got to stretch out another sixteenth in the Kitten’s Joy, but he seems to be handling everything fine and I don’t think that will be a problem for him.”
Cabo Cat was sixth behind Storming Inti in the Awad but closed to be second behind Mr Speaker at odds of 37-1 in the one-mile Dania Beach (G3) at Gulfstream on Dec. 21 for trainer Mark Hennig.
A chestnut son of Kitten’s Joy bred and owned by Lee Lewis, Cabo Cat broke his maiden at first asking going seven furlongs at Belmont Park on Oct. 2 prior to the Awad.
“I was a little baffled by his second race because he ran very well the first time,” Hennig said. “The second race was kind of a strange performance. He was kind of on the outside that day and never got into the mix, and it was like he just got lost out there. I was looking for a positive sign in the last race that I hadn’t overestimated him, so I gained some confidence back in that last race and I’m hopeful that he did, too.”
Jockey Joel Rosario rides Cabo Cat, who has had two solid works since the Dania Beach, including a bullet half-mile in 47 2/5 at Palm Meadows on Jan. 12.
“He’s been doing real well,” Hennig said. “I hope he runs to his training, because he’s acting like a horse that is sitting on a good race.”
Also in the Kitten’s Joy are Enthrone, Drover Road, Scoria, Rope a Dope, Daddy’s Kid and Go Go Romeo. Pachanga Party is entered for main track only.