Artful Splatter
Artful Splatter won the 2020 Geisha Stakes. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

James Wolf’s durable Artful Splatter, an eight-time career winner from 29 lifetime starts, will attempt to reverse her recent fortunes and become a stakes winner for the third time in Sunday’s $100,000 Caesar’s Wish at historic Pimlico Race Course.

Artful Splatter made her first six career starts on the main track before being moved to the grass for five straight when she was claimed by trainer Kieron Magee out of a runner-up finish Sept. 7, 2019. The 5-year-old daughter of 2014 General George (G3) winner Bandbox reeled off five straight wins, including a controversial victory in the Geisha over 11-time stakes winner Anna’s Bandit to open 2020.

“We claimed her toward the end of grass season,” Magee said. “We claimed her thinking she’d run on the dirt, but she hadn’t been getting the chance.”

Since her streak ended, Artful Splatter has won two of 13 starts including a 10 ¼-length romp in an off-the-turf George Rosenberger Memorial last fall at Delaware Park and placed in three others, among them a second in the 2020 Twixt and third in the Feb. 20 Nellie Morse, both at Laurel Park.

“We claimed her for [$16,000] and she’s done very well. She won five in a row off that and she’s done everything we’ve asked of her,” Magee said. “Anytime you have a girl that goes long it’s tough to find spots.

“She always runs her race. She always tries hard,” he added. “We’ve put her in some spots that we shouldn’t have put her in, but she still shows up.”

Maryland’s overall leading trainer from 2014-16, the 60-year-old Magee is currently tied for second in the extended Preakness Meet standings with 12 wins at Pimlico, where the Ireland native and one-time exercise rider for fellow trainer Dale Capuano is based year-round.

“I’ve been around Pimlico most of my life. I love Pimlico. Absolutely,” he said. “Off all the tracks, Pimlico is home for me. I’m hoping we’re here for a few more months.”

Charlie Marquez rides Artful Splatter from Post 3 of eight at co-topweight of 126 pounds.

The Caesar’s Wish debuted in 1978 at old Bowie Race Course and was held at both Pimlico and Laurel before it was renamed the Beyond the Wire for 2018. It honors the Maryland-bred mare that won 11 of 16 starts over two seasons including the 1978 Mother Goose (G1) and Black-Eyed Susan (G2) and 1977 Demoiselle (G2) and Villager (G3). Her winning time in the Mother Goose broke Hall of Famer Ruffian’s stakes record and stood until 1994.