Artie’s Storm and jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson capture the Durham Cup (Michael Burns Photo)
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms
TORONTO— Artie’s Storm, under Emma-Jayne Wilson, got by one foe and then held off another in Saturday’s $150,000 Durham Cup (G3) at Woodbine.
A pair of multiple graded stakes-placed talents, namely, Wolfie’s Dynaghost and Algiers (IRE), vied for early control in the 1 1/16-mile main track feature for 3-year-olds and up, with the former taking command into the first turn. Wolfie’s Dynaghost, an eight-time winner from 23 starts, was a length in front of slight favourite Treason, while second choice Algiers sat third (IRE) through a spirited opening quarter in :24.55. Artie’s Storm, sent off at 5-1, was fifth of seven.
Wolfie’s Dynaghost continued to call the shots through a half-mile in :48.22, followed by Treason, Algiers (IRE) and War Court, while Wilson kept the 5-year-old son of We Miss Artie-Tiz Stormy Now in fifth, but well within striking range of their rivals.
It was still Wolfie’s Dynaghost on the front end turning for home, as Algiers (IRE) and jockey Robert Havlin, pinned down along the rail, looked for a path to engage the frontrunner. Artie’s Storm had something brewing to the outside and began to come with a spirited run in early stretch.
Artie’s Storm wrested the lead away from Wolfie’s Dynaghost but was quickly confronted by Algiers (IRE), who had split the pair. At the wire, Artie’s Storm was a half-length winner for trainer and owner Paul Buttigieg. Algiers (IRE) was a neck ahead of Wolfie’s Dynaghost for second. Treason was fourth.
The final time was 1:41.08. War Bomber (IRE) and U S Army Corps were scratched.
“I wanted to be within range,” said Wilson. “That was the whole thing. Paul said to Rick [assistant trainer, Hayashi], ‘Just make sure she’s within range and make sure he’s within range and he’ll give you that kick.’ That’s what it was for me, getting that range, getting that split and getting that seam.”
It was a welcome result for the connections, who had watched the dark bay, a multiple graded stakes winner, contend with a few setbacks since the spring.
“He had a lot of problems early with his feet and his blood was all out of whack,” noted Hayashi. “It just took a long time to get him to where he is today. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to our blacksmith, John Staples. The horse had nothing but bruised feet all the time and John came up with these protective shields for him. Since he’s had them on, he’s turned the corner.”
That gave Wilson confidence Artie’s Storm could produce a big effort against top-notch competition.
“Knowing how good he was going and knowing that he had turned the corner, I expected a good kick. I was expecting a good kick and if I could get the trip, I could get the kick. And if I got the kick, I was hopeful that I could at least be second. You never want to run for second money, you ride for the win. Down the backside, as the pace was setting up, everything was tight and everyone was paying attention to where everybody was. I had a chance to move through the turn and get a line to the outside. Once I had that straight shot, if he gave me the kick like we all thought he could… this is his home court, and he comes to play every time.”
With the win, Artie’s Storm, bred in Ontario by Sunrise Farm, is now 8-5-5 from 23 starts.
“You can just see in this situation that it takes a village,” said Wilson. “Rick gave credit to Mr. John Staples, but it’s more than that. I got to be on the glory stage and ride the horse in the race, but all spring, this is something they’ve been working on with this horse from the get-go to get him good and they got him good. They earned this and they deserve it.”
Artie’s Storm paid $13.80 for the win.