TORONTO, July 1, 2018 – Artistico, under leading rider Rafael Hernandez, was full of run down the lane in taking the first leg of the popular Woodbine Turf Endurance Series, Sunday at Woodbine.
The series, which offers $40,000 in bonuses to the winning connections, got out of the gates with a 1 3/8-mile test, part of the undercard on the third and final day of the Queen’s Plate Festival.
Subsequent legs, which will increase in distance, will be held on August 5 (over 1 ½-miles) and September 9 (1 5/8-miles) before the finale, a 2 ¼-mile marathon on October 14. Each leg carries a purse of $50,000.
A chestnut son of 2004 Queen’s Plate champion Niigon, Artistico notched his first win from four starts this year in the Endurance opener.
Sent off at 10-1, Artistico, well back early of pacesetter Money Talker, was two lengths in front at the stretch call. In hot pursuit was last year’s Turf Endurance Series winner Tesseron, who rallied stoutly, but finished three-quarters of a length behind the winner. Kaigun was third, Sine Metu was fourth and Bold Animaux was fifth. Mick the Conqueror was scratched.
Final time for the race was 2:13.44.
Artistico paid $22.80, $8.70 and $5.60, combining with Tesseron ($4.90, $3.70) for a $139.30 exactor. Kaigun ($3.40) completed a $592 triactor. A $1 superfecta (Sine Metu) returned $2,593.35.
Throughout the course of the four legs, participating horses will earn points based on order of finish (see below) to determine the series winner. The trainer who amasses the most points with the series winning horse will be awarded a $15,000 bonus. The owner who amasses the most points with the series winning horse will be awarded a $25,000 bonus. In an event of a tie, the bonus monies will be divided equally. The participation bonus in the Turf Endurance Series will be $1,200.
The series is open to optional $25,000 starters or optional $45,000 claimers. Free lunch for four per horse in one of Woodbine’s dining rooms will be provided on the day of the races.
The series point structure is as follows: 1st place – 10 points, 2nd – 7 points, 3rd – 5 points, 4th – 3 points, 5th – 2 points, and 6th through last – 1 point.
The inaugural edition of the Turf Endurance Series, contested in 2017, was won by the aforementioned Tesseron, who recorded 32 points after taking two legs and hitting the board in the other pair with Emma-Jayne Wilson aboard. Harold Ladouceur trains the son of Tapit for owner Kirk Sutherland.