A winner on both grass and Polytrack, We Miss Artie goes after his first dirt victory in Saturday's Grade 2, $400,000 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Todd Pletcher for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, We Miss Artie is by Artie Schiller, a multiple graded stakes winner on grass including the 2005 Breeders' Cup Mile.
We Miss Artie opened his three-year-old campaign finishing second by a head to Storming Inti after a stretch-long duel in the Kitten's Joy on January 19 over the Gulfstream Park turf.
Since then, he has had two half-mile works at the Palm Meadows training facility in Boynton Beach, each in :48, ranking second of 67 horses on February 9 and third of 57 horses on February 16.
"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."
In his two dirt starts as a juvenile, We Miss Artie was second while making his career debut in a five-furlong sprint at Belmont Park on July 4 and seventh, beaten four lengths, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on November 2.
"He actually loomed up and made a big move in the Breeders' Cup, and I thought it was a pretty respectable effort," Pletcher remarked. "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."
We Miss Artie will be ridden by Joe Bravo in the Fountain of Youth and break from post 2 in the field of 13. The Pletcher-trained Commissioner, with Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez aboard, drew post 1 in his stakes debut.
"In a big field like this, you certainly don't want to get stuck way outside, although the 1 probably wouldn't be my first choice either," Pletcher said of the draw. "Considering the size of the field, I'm OK 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."