Tattoo Artist Aims For Gerrity Repeat

Published: July 19, 2023 04:33 pm EDT

In the 13-year history of the Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial, there has never been a horse, driver or trainer win the race more than once.

A victory by Tattoo Artist on Saturday at Saratoga Raceway would put an end to all that.

Tattoo Artist, who won last year’s Gerrity for trainer Chris Ryder and driver Wally Hennessey, returns to this year’s race as the 5-2 morning-line favourite for Ryder and driver Jason Bartlett. Although Bartlett did not drive Tattoo Artist last year, he did win the Gerrity in 2015 with P H Supercam.

Bartlett and Tattoo Artist will start from post three in Saturday's $250,000 stakes event.

A six-year-old stallion, Tattoo Artist heads to the Gerrity off a second-place finish behind Charlie May in the William R. Haughton Memorial last week at The Meadowlands. He has a win and three seconds in five starts since returning from a one-month layoff following the Borgata Series in April.

“He wasn’t himself in the Borgata,” said Ryder, referring to Tattoo Artist’s one win in five preliminary rounds and third-place finish in the event’s consolation race. “After the Borgata, we freshened him up and changed his program around. We put him on Lasix, too, which has helped him. Now, he’s back to himself.”

Since his return, Tattoo Artist has won a conditioned race and been second in the #SendItIn Invitational at Harrah’s Philadelphia, Gold Cup Invitational at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and Haughton. His only off-the-board finish was a fifth in the Dave Brower Memorial from post 10 at The Meadowlands.

In the Haughton, Tattoo Artist raced on the outside for the entire mile. He was eighth at the quarter, seventh at the half and a three-wide sixth at three-quarters, but rallied to take the lead in the stretch. Charlie May, though, found an opening along the pylons nearing the finish and got up for the victory.

“I thought we were home,” Ryder said, adding with a laugh, “I like Charlie May, but not to beat me when I think I’m a winner.”

Tattoo Artist, an O'Brien Award winner as a three-year-old, has won 32 of 83 lifetime races and earned $2.39 million. The son of Hes Watching-Stylish Artist is owned by Let It Ride Stables, Frank Cannon, Diamond Creek Racing and Bottom Line Racing.

The only other trainer with the chance to win the Gerrity for a second time is Ron Burke, who sends out Hellabalou (3-1), This Is The Plan (6-1) and Semi Tough (12-1). Drivers with the chance to win a second are Joe Bongiorno with Hellabalou, Mark MacDonald with Funatthebeach N (8-1) and Jordan Stratton with Covered Bridge (9-2).

Racing begins at 6:45 p.m. (EDT) on Saturday at Saratoga. For free programs, visit the Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association website by clicking here.

The complete field is listed below in post position order.

$250,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace
Post - Horse - Driver - Trainer - Morning Line Odds
1. Hellabalou - Joe Bongiorno - Ron Burke - 3-1
2. Funatthrebeach N - Mark MacDonald - Jeff Gillis - 8-1
3. Tattoo Artist - Jason Bartlett - Chris Ryder - 5-2
4. Covered Bridge - Jordan Stratton - Jeff Gillis - 9-2
5. Idealsomemagic A - George Brennan - Cory Stratton - 10-1
6. I Did It Myway - Andrew McCarthy - Tony Alagna - 4-1
7. This Is The Plan - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke -6-1
8. Semi Tough - Brett Beckwith - Ron Burke - 12-1
AE. Saulsbrook Genesis - TBA - Ron Burke 

(With files from USTA; Photo of Tattoo Artist winning the 2022 Gerrity)