Artspeak wins seventh straight in Bluegrass pace

by Kimberly Rinker, USTA Web Newsroom Correspondent

Lexington, KY — Four divisions of the Bluegrass Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts shared the spotlight on Saturday night (Sept. 27) at The Red Mile.

Artspeak held off Sicily in a time of 1:51.3.

Artspeak, fresh off his Metro win on Aug. 30 at Mohawk, continued his winning ways by capturing the $83,250 third division handily in 1:51.3. Tony Alagna harnessed the son of Western Ideal-The Art Museum, who pushed his career earnings to $479,450 with the victory, the seventh of his career in as many starts.

“He’s really an impressive horse,” said co-owner Marvin Katz. “It’s a privilege to own a horse like him. Tony (trainer Alagna) put this group of owners together initially. He had liked the two previous foals out of the mare.”

As the field left the gate, 1-9 favorite Artspeak wasted no time sprinting to the lead and a first quarter clocking of :27.2. From there he was on idle, pacing through mid-race fractions of :55.4 and 1:24.3. Blood Brother (Yannick Gingras) was the first one to challenge him on the outside, but to no avail, as Artspeak held a comfortable lead through the stretch, holding off Sicily (Corey Callahan), who was second and Traceur Hanover (Tim Tetrick), third.

“The other horses got close to him in that soft third quarter but when they looked him in the eye, he just just took off again,” said winning driver Scott Zeron. “He’s very smart and is a sweetheart to drive. He acts like an aged horse and makes my job easy.”

Artspeak had scored a 1:52.4 qualifying prep over The Red Mile clay one week ago as a prep for the Western Ideal. He is owned by his co-breeder Brittany Farms and partners Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and In The Gym Partners, who purchased him for $100,000 at the 2013 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale.

USTA/Mark Hall photos

Cartoon Daddy won in a career best time of 1:50.1.

Cartoon Daddy rallied second-over to capture the first $82,250 division in a career best 1:50.1 for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke. The son of Art Major-Ask Alice, a New York Sire Stakes champion, pushed his career earnings to $249,067 with the victory, his sixth in ten lifetime starts.

Talking Points (David Miller) took the lead at the :27.4 opening quarter, while Gingras was content to keep Cartoon Daddy back as the former then began a slugfest with rival Jake Blue Chip (Corey Callahan) who challenged first over to the :55 half. Positions remained unchanged until mid-stretch, when Cartoon Daddy pulled from third-over to score the win.

“I knew the cover was good enough, and if the horse was good enough he should win the race off that trip,” said Burke. “The track seems fast, so I wasn’t surprised about the time as I figured we’d see a lot of fast races tonight.”

Cartoon Daddy is owned by Burke Racing and Joseph Di Scala Jr. He is out of The Panderosa broodmare Ask Alice p,2,Q2:02 ($3,199) and is a full brother to Ari Allstar p,3,1:53s ($108,330).

Hall of Famer David Miller gave the Brian Brown-trained Lost For Words a near-perfect steer to nail down the win in the $82,250 second Western Ideal Bluegrass Series division in 1:51.1.

This $50,000 yearling purchase from the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale paced the final three-quarters of a mile in 1:21.1 and sprinted the second panel in a spry :26.1 when he stole the lead from Bet You (Brett Miller), who finished second. Penji Hanover (Scott Zeron) was a strong third.

“He’s been ultra-consistent all year long,” said Miller. “He got a third-quarter breather and was tough coming home. He grabbed onto the right line finishing so that’s why I went to the left handed whip, but he pulled up alright so I don’t know what that was about.”

Owned by Country Club Acres, William Robinson, Richard Lombardo and Strollin Stable, the son of Well Said-Thou Shall Not upped his career earnings to $150,337. The triumph was the bay colt’s fourth win of the season in eight starts. Most of his races have been in PASS competition.

In The Arsenal (Brian Sears) held off a late charging Rich Wisdom (Yannick Gingras) in the final $83,250 Western Ideal Bluegrass Series division to prevail in 1:49.4. The son of American Ideal-Ladyotra is conditioned by Kevin Harrison for White Birch Farm of Allentown, N.J. and notched his third lifetime win in six starts, upping his bank account to $118,655.

Well Well Well (Ray Schnittker) took the field to a :27.3 first quarter, before Sears moved In The Arsenal to the lead at the :55 half. From there, Sears rated the youngster through a three-quarter split of 1:23, before holding off challenges in the lane by Rich Wisdom (Yannick Gingras) and third-place finisher Freedomformysoul (Mark MacDonald).

“He felt so good going around the final turn that I was pretty confident,” said Sears. “He’s exceptionally good gaited and the only trouble we’ve had with him has been that he can get a little bad-mannered at times. But he wants to race horses and really likes to be on the track.”

In The Arsenal had captured both his $25,000 Sheppard elim and $125,000 final in July at Yonkers Raceway for these same connections. Impressively-bred, In The Arsenal is the 14th foal out of the On The Road Again mare Ladyotra p,2,1:53.2q ($115,627) and is a full or half-brother to the winners of more than $1 million.

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