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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Ken Weingartner, USTA — One day prior to Tattoo Artist’s win in his elimination of the Canadian Pacing Derby this past weekend, trainer Ian Moore was jogging the 6-year-old pacer when he began reflecting upon his association with the stallion.

Tattoo Artist was in the Ontario-based Moore’s care from the time he was a yearling through his 3-year-old season. At age 4, the stallion began racing in both the U.S. and Canada, splitting time with Moore and New Jersey’s Chris Ryder.

Now, for only the second time in 2023, he was getting ready to compete again for Moore.

“I was thinking this is really cool because I was with him at the start of his career…and now I’m with him as his career is starting to wind down,” Moore said following Tattoo Artist’s CPD elim victory Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park. “It felt extra special. Every time I sit behind him it feels extra special for me.

“He’s just a super little horse.”

Tattoo Artist has won 34 of 87 career races, hit the board an additional 27 times, and earned $2.52 million in Canadian dollars ($2.16 million U.S.). The son of He’s Watching-Stylish Artist received the O’Brien Award for Canada’s top 3-year-old male pacer in 2020.

Ironically, he had his best season in 2022, when he spent time butting heads with eventual Horse of the Year Bulldog Hanover. Tattoo Artist hit the board in 22 of 25 races, winning 10 and finishing second on nine occasions, on his way to $1 million Canadian in purses. Three of his second-place finishes came behind Bulldog Hanover — in the finals of the Breeders Crown, Canadian Pacing Derby, and TVG Pacing Series.

“He’s just one of the sweetest horses I’ve ever had,” Moore said late last year. “He’s a tough little bugger, I’ll tell you that. He’ll give you all he’s got. I just love him. He’s almost the perfect horse.”

Tattoo Artist’s victory in the CPD elim was his third of this season and followed three second-place finishes (William R. Haughton Memorial, Joe Gerrity Memorial, division of the Sam McKee Memorial) in a span of four starts prior to his return to Mohawk.

In his elim, he was fifth with a quarter-mile to go, but stormed home in :25.2 to beat Linedrive Hanover by a neck in 1:48.3. Tattoo Artist’s time for the last quarter equaled his lifetime best.

“That was quite a last quarter he had there,” said Moore, who has won 19 races with Tattoo Artist in his career. “We were very impressed with him (Saturday), and we’ll try to have him ready for next weekend.”

Tattoo Artist will start Saturday’s C$615,000 Canadian Pacing Derby from post four with Louis-Philippe Roy in the sulky. Roy drove Tattoo Artist in the elim and is 2-for-2 with the pacer in his career.

“I was really happy with him,” Roy said Saturday, adding about the stretch drive, “I tipped off the helmet, he went forward, but (Linedrive Hanover) was like four lengths away and I thought I’m never going to catch him. I just touched my horse a little bit and he went just like he was going off the gate, he went like a hundred. I thought, you know what, we might have a shot. Then he did the job by himself.”

Moore, who won the Canadian Pacing Derby in 2015 with State Treasurer, trains Tattoo Artist for owners Let It Ride Stables, Frank Cannon, Diamond Creek Racing, and Bottom Line Racing.

Among the horses standing in Tattoo Artist’s way will be Bythemissal, who won the other CPD elimination by eight lengths in 1:47.3. The 4-year-old gelding will leave from post six with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ron Burke. Gingras and Burke teamed to capture the 2012 CPD with Foiled Again, one of three victories in the event for Burke.

“It’s as easy as I’ve ever won in (1):47, I can promise you that,” Gingras said after Bythemissal’s elim. “I had a handful of pace finishing. That was very impressive. He’s fresh, too. He only has (seven) starts, and some of them were like qualifiers, really, so he’s ready to go now. I’m looking forward to (the final) that’s for sure.”

Bythemissal, a son of Downbytheseaside-Dismissal, has won six races this season and 20 of 24 lifetime, earning $1.36 million. He’s missed the board only once.

Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Eric Good, Rich Lombardo Racing, and Weaver Bruscemi, Bythemissal brings a three-race win streak to the Canadian Pacing Derby final. He opened his 2023 campaign with three consecutive victories, then was sidelined by illness for two months.

“You never know how they’re going to bounce back after that,” Gingras said. “All credit to the medical staff, they got him back on track, and to the Burke Brigade training him back down. He feels like a special horse.”

Racing begins at 7:10 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Mohawk. The card also includes the C$530,000 Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters and the Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old male and female trotters. For complete entries, click here.

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