Train to Artemus rolls through rivals to take The Very One

BALTIMORE – The mare Train to Artemus began her racing career in late summer 2020 trained by Wesley Ward. Friday at Pimlico, long since gone from the Ward stable, she ran down the Ward-trained Spicy Marg to win the $100,000 The Very One Stakes. 

Paco Lopez, riding for his longtime patron, trainer Kelly Breen, worked out a perfect pocket trip for Train to Artemus, who bulled her way off the fence past the three-sixteenths pole, collared pacesetting Spicy Marg at the furlong grounds, and pulled away to win The Very One by 1 1/4 lengths, eased up the final strides. 

Train to Artemus was coming off one of the worst races of her career, an 11th-place finish in the Giant’s Causeway last month at Keeneland, where she established a decent early position but never got comfortable, fading to lose that turf sprint by more than eight lengths. Friday, in the five-furlong The Very One, the mare always looked comfortable. 

“I was a little worried because a couple times she doesn’t break very good,” said Lopez. “Today, she broke great.”  

Train to Artemus jumped right into the bridle spotting up on the fence behind Spicy Marg and inside Can the Queen, who’d won this race a year ago, through a quarter mile over quick, firm going in 21.70 seconds. Can the Queen’s rider steered slightly left at the head of the homestretch to try and box Lopez in, but Lopez put his mount’s nose up into a tiny gap that grew wider as Can the Queen lost momentum. Once outside and in the clear, the half mile having passed in 44.09 seconds, Train to Artemus quickly reeled in Spicy Marg and went on to her eighth win from 15 races. She stopped the timer in 55.81 and paid $8.60 as the second choice. 

Spun Glass made a late run to finish third, a neck behind Spicy Marg and 2 1/4 lengths in front of Thundering Creed, who broke poorly and finished fastest. Whiskey and Rye was fifth, followed by Can the Queen, the 17-10 Ward-trained favorite Her World, Lemos Cunha, and, Queen Sheba. Get the Candy was scratched as was Golden Effect, the latter entered main track only. 

Train to Artemus, by Tapizar out of Pat Day Kitten, by Kitten’s Joy, made three starts for Ward and her breeders, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, before going unraced for the better part of 19 months. Back in action in June 2022, she had moved to the barn of trainer Saffie Joseph, who saddled the horse in three claiming races last summer at Saratoga. In the last of them, Breen and owner M and W Stables claimed the filly for $35,000 – and that has worked out very well. Even with the Keeneland flop, Train to Artemus has gone 5-1-1 in eight starts for these connections. That’s a lot of victories, and this week, the Train made a stop at the Pimlico winner’s circle.