TORONTO, May 29, 2022 – Artie’s Storm stormed home to take Sunday’s Grade 2 $201,950 Stella Artois Eclipse Stakes at Woodbine.
Prior to the running of the Eclipse, jockey David Moran forecasted a strong showing from the multiple stakes winning son of We Miss Artie-Tiz Stormy Now.
Under ideal conditions at the Toronto oval, four-year-old Artie’s Storm, owned and trained by Paul Buttigieg, proved to be too hot to handle for his five rivals.
It was Canada’s reigning Horse of the Year, Mighty Heart, who set the early tone in the 1 1/16-mile race for four-year-olds and up, as Patrick Husbands guided the one-eyed star to the rail with Frosted Over settling into second, while Moran and Artie’s Storm sat third through an opening quarter timed in :23.99.
Mighty Heart, making his 2022 Woodbine debut, was still calling the shots through a half-mile timed in :48.48 as Frosted Over, a length back, and Artie’s Storm, four behind that rival, kept the leader in their sights.
As the lead trio rounded the turn for home, Moran called upon Artie’s Storm, as the duo began to cut into the lead of the front-running pair.
Third, a neck back of Frosted Over at the stretch call, Artie’s Storm, sent off at 7-1, soon seized control to the outside and went on to record a one-length victory in a time of 1:42.40. Frosted Over bested Mighty Heart by two lengths for second spot, with Riptide Rock taking fourth.
It was the first start of the year for the dark bay, who notched his third straight score after wins last year in the Lake Ontario Stakes and Steady Growth Stakes.
“This horse has been training lights out,” said Moran. “The only thing we were worried about was first run, two turns off the shelf, against these kind of horses. We didn’t really get a prep for him, but his breezes have been amazing. I would look forward to getting into my car on Monday mornings just to come down and breeze him on Mondays… it was just so good.”
And it still very much is.
Moran, who has been aboard for all the Ontario-bred’s 11 starts (5-2-3), was thrilled with how his trip worked out.
“He settled off the pace and I was happy at the three-eighths that no one was pressuring me, so I was able to be a little bit more patient and I said that once I got him straightened up, he kicked in like he always kicks in. Just fitness-wise, I was trying to wait as long as I could and hopefully, I wouldn’t get swarmed from someone behind.”
Moran believes Artie’s Storm, bred by Sunrise Farm, could be in for a big season at the Toronto oval.
“He danced with all the big boys last year, against open company. I think with this sire, they seem to get better with age and this guy definitely has matured. He’s a proper little racehorse.”
Artie’s Storm paid $17.10, $6.50 and $3.40, combining with Frosted Over ($4, $2.40) for a $54.80 exactor. Mighty Heart ($2.40) completed a $138.30 triactor. A $1 Superfecta (Riptide Rock) returned $173.85.
Live Thoroughbred racing continues Thursday with a first post of 1:10 p.m.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms