This year the Breeders’ Cup World Championships has expanded to 14 races. Trainer Eoin Harty was hoping for a 15th event, for swimming, not running.
When Well Armedreturned from Dubai in March of this year, he was sent to owner WinStar Farm’s nursery near Midway, Ky., and the son of Tiznow spent part of each day in the pool.
“He got a break, ate some grass, got to swim, and he likes to swim,” Harty said. “If they had a Breeders’ Cup swimming event, he would be the Michael Phelps. He is a swimming machine.”
After becoming a graded stakes winner in the United States, Well Armed finished third in the Emirates Airline Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) behind Curlin and Asiatic Boy. Harty immediately mapped out a plan for the summer and fall, and everything has fallen into place.
“We worked backward from the Goodwood (Stakes, gr. I), what his work pattern would be, what it would take to get there, and we have stuck to that plan.”
After nearly four months off, Well Armed won the San Diego Handicap (gr. II), was beaten just a neck in the Pacific Classic (gr. I), and won the Sept. 27 Goodwood. Now comes the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
The 5-year-old gelding also has the advantage of his connections knowing he likes the synthetic surface over which the race will be run at Santa Anita.
“He showed he liked it last year and this year, and those were very different surfaces. You might say we have the home court advantage,” Harty said. “It is always a big positive when others have to ship and you can stay in your stall and walk over the day of the race.”
Harty and WinStar’s owners, Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt, thought about the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), but decided the Dirt Mile suited their horse better. “The Classic was always in the back of our minds, but it seems to be a very solid field, plus he got beat in Dubai at a mile and a quarter and in the Pacific Classic at a mile and a quarter. A two-turn mile gives him the best opportunity.”
While Well Armed has made 19 career starts, a lightly raced colt, another son of Tiznow, might be one to watch. Three-year-old Slew’s Tiznow has made only four starts and just one this year, but is an improving runner for owner Joe LaCombe and trainer Doug O’Neill. Slew’s Tiznow’s 4-year-old full brother, Slew’s Tizzy, also is pre-entered for the Dirt Mile for the same connections as a second preference, with first preference being the Turf Sprint.
Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile Pre-Entries:
My Pal Charlie
Two Step Salsa
First Defence has first preference in the Sprint
Lewis Michael has second preference in the Sprint
Lord Admiral has first preference in the Mile
Mast Track has first preference in the Classic
Pyro has first preference in the Classic
Rebellion (GB) has second preference in the Turf Sprint
Slew's Tizzy has first preference in the Turf Sprint
Jonesboro has second preference in the Marathon
Well Armed has second preference in the Classic
View the Complete Pre-Entries for Breeders' Cup 2008