Well Armed Fires Best Shot in Goodwood
Photo: Benoit
Well Armed sweeps to victory in the Goodwood.

Favored Well Armed, under strong urging from jockey Aaron Gryder, responded to open up a clear advantage in the homestretch, then held off the defending champion Tiago to win the $498,000 Goodwood (gr. I) (VIDEO) by one length at Oak Tree's Santa Anita meet Sept. 27. Because the race is part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series, Well Armed gained a slot in the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).

Owned by WinStar Farms and trained by Eoin Harty, the son of Tiznow   could be the second horse for the connections in the BC Classic, joining Travers (gr. I) winner Colonel John, also a son of Tiznow.

Well Armed, three wide on the turn, was under a ride from Gryder from the three-eighths pole to the wire and drifted out a bit in the stretch, but displayed plenty of grit to get the job done. Well Armed, who won the San Diego Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar July 19, was coming off a tough loss by a neck to Go Between in the Pacific Classic (gr. I) one month ago.

"He was under a ride at the three-eighths pole, but he just showed me so much heart from the top of stretch home," Harty said. "It’s certainly gratifying to have two horses pointing to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. I’m just very fortunate to have them right now. I’ve managed to dodge land mines along the way (with his training schedule for each horse), but they’re both very sound horses, and I think that’s a trait that Tiznow throws to his stock. Well Armed has relaxed more and more in his training since we went to Del Mar, and that’s what Aaron taught him. Going a mile and an eighth or a mile and a quarter on the lead is very, very hard to do, so now we’ve another trick up our sleeve.”

Tiago edged Albertus Maximus by three-quarters of a length for second ,with Surf Cat fourth. The winning time for the 1 1/8-mile event was 1:47.11 on the new Pro-Ride racing surface.

Informed, with Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) winner Mast Track, set the early splits, :23.36 for the first quarter, :46.81 for the half, and 1:10.31 for six furlongs, Well Armed settled into a stalking spot on the outside.

Surf Cat, on the far outside, and Well Armed both rallied coming around the far turn, with Well Armed eventually getting the lead approaching mid-stretch. The eventual winner drifted out a bit under left-handed urging and may have bothered Surf Cat, who ducked out slightly although there was no contact. Well Armed continued on gamely as Tiago, rallying very wide from last after finding traffic problems under Mike Smith, charged too late in the final eighth. Albertus Maximus also finished with interest for jockey Garrett Gomez. Surf Cat settled for fourth.

Gryder said Well Armed is a much easier horse to ride these days.

"He’s relaxing so well. Today he was completely off the bridle going into the first turn and my reins were just dangling," he said. "He’s just a much better horse. Now, he’s using his energy when I call on him. He’s run on every surface, synthetics, dirt over in Dubai, and he’s won here on the synthetic at Hollywood Park and at Del Mar.”

Well Armed, who also won the San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) on Santa Anita's now discarded Cushion Track last February, ran third behind Curlin in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) prior to his win in the San Diego. His sixth win in 19 lifetime starts pushed his bankroll to $1,530,803 with the Goodwood's winning purse of $300,000.

Sent off at odds of 17-10, Well Armed paid $5.40, $2.80, and $2.40.

Tiago, a dual grade I winner for trainer John Shirreffs making his first start since finishing sixth in the Hollywood Gold Cup June 28, returned $4.40 and $3, capping a $2 exacta worth $23.80.

Shirreffs, who earlier on the program won the Lady's Secret (gr. I) with his undefeated filly Zenyatta, was encouraged by Tiago's effort.

“I thought Tiago ran great, the  trainer said. "He had a little traffic problem, which we all saw. I think (it sets us up for the Breeders’ Cup Classic). We’ll see how things go from here. But it looks good. We've had a great day."

Albertus Maximus was $4.40 to show.

It was one length to Surf Cat, followed by Arlington Million (gr. IT) winner Spirit One, Tres Borrachos, Zappa, Mast Track, Mostacolli Mort, and Informed.

View Stakes Details and Full Equibase Chart    

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