Under Paco Lopez, Train to Artemus chugs home a The Very One winner (Maryland Jockey Club)
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
BALTIMORE— M and W Stables’ Train to Artemus split horses at the top of the stretch and surged past pacesetting Spicy Marg to register her second career stakes victory in Friday’s $100,000 The Very One at historic Pimlico Race Course.
The 24th running of the five-furlong The Very One for fillies and mares 3 years old and up sprinting on the turf was the second of six stakes, three graded, worth $1 million in purses on a sensational 14-race Black-Eyed Susan (G2) Day program headlined by the 99th edition of the 1 1/8-mile fixture for 3-year-old fillies.
Ridden by Paco Lopez for trainer Kelly Breen, Train to Artemus ($8.60) completed the distance in 55.81 seconds over a firm turf course. The track record of 55.30 was set by Firecrow in his 2021 Jim McKay Turf Sprint victory.
Spicy Marg broke running from her outward post and was intent on the lead under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, sizzling through splits of 21.70 seconds for the opening quarter of a mile and 44.09 for the half, pressed by defending champion Can the Queen with 8-5 favorite Her World in the clear three wide in third.
Lopez saved ground along the rail, found an opening when Can the Queen drifted out once straightened for home, and scooted through to set his sights on the leader. Train to Artemus came with a steady run to get past Spicy Marg and win by 1 ¼ lengths, with Spicy Marg holding off late-running Spun Glass by a neck for second.
Thundering Creed, Whiskey and Rye, Can the Queen, Her World, Lemos Cunha and Queen Sheba completed the order of finish. Can the Queen was attempting to become just the third back-to-back The Very One winner, following Sensible Lady (2012-13) and Ageless (2014-15).
Bred in Kentucky by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Train to Artemus was claimed for $25,000 out of a front-running victory sprinting 5 ½ furlongs on the Saratoga turf last summer. She has won five of eight starts since, including the Feb. 18 Lightning City at Tampa Bay Downs.
Purchased out of a 1977 Maryland 2-year-old sale in Timonium for $22,000 by Maryland horsewoman Helen Polinger, The Very One went on to become one of the best race mares in training from 1977-81. A former claimer turned Grade 1 winner, she won 22 races and more than $1.1 million in purses from 71 starts, with eight graded-stakes wins including the 1979 Dixie (G2) at Pimlico and 1981 Santa Barbara Handicap (G1).
$100,000 The Very One Quotes
Winning Jockey Paco Lopez (Train to Artemus): “She was very comfortable today and she broke unbelievable. I was in a little tight at the eighth pole. I had plenty of filly in the stretch. I love this filly. I have ridden her twice and won both times. A very nice filly.”
Trainer Wesley Ward (runner-up Spicy Marg and beaten favorite Her World): “Maybe when she won at Keenland it was a little soft. Maybe it’s a little firm for her here. No real excuses. The other filly ran really good to be second. I’m happy with her. We’re going to re-load and shoot.”
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (beaten favorite Her World): “She broke out a little, but nothing bothered her. The last time she ran big on the lead. Today, she was disappointing. I thought she could have run better. We will just have to regroup.”