Artistic Fella, who last raced August 30 in the Breeders Crown, finishing second to Mister Big, will return to action in 2009, trainer Steve Elliott said.
This year, Artistic Fella won five of 14 races and finished in second place on seven occasions while earning $937,580. Four of his seconds came to Mister Big, including by a head in the William Haughton Memorial and by a neck in the U.S. Pacing Championship. He defeated Mister Big in the Ben Franklin Pace at Harrah's Chester, setting the world record of 1:48 on a five-eighths track.
For his career, the five-year-old pacer has won 26 of 52 races and earned $2.6 million for owner Joe Alborano. He was driven regularly by Tim Tetrick.
"The way the races were scheduled, it would have been wait a month and race, wait a month and a half and race. At that level, to me, it's not worth doing," Elliott said Tuesday. "I said we'd just quit with him and bring him back next year. He's coming back. He was fine. Perfect. He's been good all year; he just tied into Mister Big, that's all."
Artistic Fella raced from the front much of the season, including being on the lead at the halfway point in his final five starts of the campaign.
"It's funny. We're always gunning and going, but I think the horse is a better horse from behind," Elliott said. "Nobody wants to race him that way. I know we drew some outside posts, so you've got to leave, but I think the horse is better from behind. Until they race him that way I won't be able to prove it.
"When you've got a horse that can leave in :26, drivers love that," he added. "He's such a handy horse. When he's on his game, I don't think there are too many horses that can park him. When you've got that kind of speed, it's too tempting. You can't knock Timmy; he's one of the best drivers in the country. It's just one of those deals where I'd like to see the horse get a trip instead of giving them all the time."