(from Del Mar report)
Well Armed is set to make his first start since his record-setting win in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) in March when he runs in the $250,000 San Diego Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar Aug. 2.
Trainer Eoin Harty confirmed the San Diego start on the morning of July 25, and named jockey Aaron Gryder, who has been aboard for the past 10 races run by the 6-year-old son of Tiznow . Gryder has guided Well Armed to eight in-the-money finishes in that time, including four graded victories. Their front-running 14-length win at Nad al Sheba was the biggest margin of victory in the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) and ranks as one of the most impressive yet in the event's history.
Well Armed, bred and owned by Kentucky's WinStar Farm, could be joined in the 1 1/16-mile San Diego by stablemate Colonel John.
Harty said no decision has been made yet on Colonel John, also a son of Tiznow bred and owned by WinStar. Colonel John won the 2008 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), and returned to win the Travers Stakes (gr. I) before finishing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
Colonel John then finished fourth in Santa Anita's Malibu Stakes (gr. I), his most recent start Dec. 26. He was sidelined briefly in January because of a pulled muscle before being scratched from the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) on March 7 when he was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection.
In spite of the presence of the World Cup champ, a possible field of 10 or more could be shaping up for the San Diego. On the "definite" list, along with Well Armed, are the filly Life Is Sweet, trained by John Shirreffs; Sunland Derby winner Kelly Leak for trainer Michael Machowsky; Darrell Vienna's Magnum; Mast Track, trained by Robert Frankel; and either Ball Four or Allicansayis Wow, from the barn of trainer Patrick Biancone.
Considered possible, along with Colonel John, are Cigar Man, trained by Vladimir Cerin; the Doug O'Neill-trained Informed; Sir Dave for Jack Carava, and the Carla Gaines trainee Temple City .
Mast Track worked five furlongs at Del Mar July 25 in 1:00 4/5.