Looking for a confidence boost for his filly, trainer Mike Hushion and owners Chester and Mary Broman dropped Artemis Agrotera into a seven-furlong race for New York-breds at Saratoga Race Course on Wednesday, and she won for fun.
The daughter of Roman Ruler, who won the Grade I Frizette last year before finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, won the sixth race by 91⁄4 lengths under Jose Ortiz.
“Expecting? I’m never expecting good things, quite honestly. I’m a worrier,” Hushion said with a laugh. “She had shown all that talent, and not to get it out of her again was a worry.
“We’ll want to go farther. I don’t think we’ll jump to a mile and an eighth the next time, but I still think she can go a mile and an eighth.”
Artemis Agrostera took charge early and was never threatened after she came off the turn.
Hushion had been mystifed by how off form the filly was in finishing eighth by 141⁄2 lengths to Sweet Reason in the Grade I Acorn on Belmont Stakes Day.
She looked like her old self on Wednesday.
“I would think she showed that [talent] today,” Husion said.
He said he doesn’t know where Artemis Agrotera will race again, but it will likely be back with open company after the way she destroyed state-breds.
“She wasn’t even running to the quarter pole when she didn’t run well,” Hushion said. “I’m not exactly sure what it is. Every day I get up, I know less.
We just had to get through today, take a deep breath.”
JIM DANDY DRAW
Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist drew post position 4 in a seven-horse field for Saturday’s Grade II Jim Dandy, the traditional prep for the Travers.
The field, in post-position order, is Cousin Stephen, Legend, Ulanbator, Tonalist, Kid Cruz, Commanding Curve and Wicked Strong.
Tonalist is 8-5 on the morning line and will be ridden by Joel Rosario, followed by Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong at 2-1 and Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve at 5-1.
Today’s feature is the $100,000 Quick Call, a turf sprint named after the nine-time winner at Saratoga, including back-to-back editions of the Forego in 1988 and 1989.
At 5-2, Favorite Tale is the slight favorite off a second by a neck to Coup de Grace in the Oh Say at Delaware Park after finishing up the track in the Grade II Woody Stephens.
Unraced at 2, Favorite Tale started his career with three straight wins by a combined 171⁄2 lengths at Parx.
The field includes Pure Sensation, who was a close second in two maiden tries at Saratoga last year and is coming off a fifth to Bayern in the Woody Stephens.
Harpoon comes into the Quick Call still seeking his first win of 2014.
His season started on a promising note when he was second by a nose to Vinceremos in the Sam Davis at Tampa Bay Downs, but he was ninth to Wicked Strong in the Wood Memorial, after which trainer Todd Pletcher tried the son of Tapit twice on the turf, unsuccessfully.
“He’s a horse that’s frustrated us, and we’re trying to figure out what his niche is,” Pletcher said. “I think there’s more talent there, and we just haven’t been able to get it.
“There’s a lot of speed in the race, so he should be able to come from off the pace.”