10/10/2015 10:53PM

Red Mile: Artspeak shows determination in Tattersalls victory

Derick Giwner
Artspeak responded to Scott Zeron's urging and dug in for the win.

In many respects it had been a long and trying year for 2014 champion 2-year-old pacer Artspeak. Despite earning $526,653, the son of Western Ideal lacked that landmark sophomore win on his record until Saturday at The Red Mile when he captured the $450,000 Tattersalls in 1:47 4/5.

It wasn’t so much the fact that Artspeak won but to borrow the title from a Miley Cyrus song, it was about The Climb. Artspeak showed immense heart and determination fending off Little Brown Jug runner-up Lost For Words by a neck in an epic battle of wills through the lane.

Artspeak was handled aggressively to the front in an opening quarter of 27 seconds by regular driver Scott Zeron before race favorite Split The House rushed up from third to assume control. The pace picked up dramatically as the field passed the half in 53 seconds and barely slowed with a 27 1/5 third quarter.

The outer flow was having trouble keeping pace and Artspeak popped out of the pocket at the head of the lane to take charge. For a moment the race appeared for sure be his, but Lost For Words, who tucked early in the mile, took dead aim. The two 3-year old colts both dug down deep and gave their all, but Artspeak refused to be passed, keeping Lost For Words a neck behind seemingly the entire way.

Rock N’ Roll World showed early speed and raced evenly late to be third while In The Arsenal got fourth.

Perhaps the most excited man at the track after the victory was John Fodera, co-owner of Artspeak as a member of the In The Gym Partners.

“I love the business, I’ve been in it for 54 years and this was just really good,” said Fodera, who signed the $100,000 ticket for Artspeak at the Lexington Selected Sale in 2013. “I did nothing else but sign. Tony (Alagna, trainer) and Scotty (Zeron) did all the work and I love them both for it.”

There were some tense moments in the stretch from the stands and Fodera put his faith in the driver as he rooted him home.

“To be honest with you, people were yelling all around me, I couldn’t tell,” said Fodera about whether he thought Artspeak would win. “I knew when Scotty pulled right at the three quarters that he must have known how much horse he had.”

Artspeak is now just shy of $1.5 million in career earnings for Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and the In The Gym Partners. Trainer Tony Alagna confirmed that his next start will be in the Breeders Crown eliminations at Woodbine next weekend.​

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