Well Armed will make his first start since winning the Dubai World Cup in March when he takes to Del Mar's track next Sunday, August 2, to defend his title in the Grade II, $250,000 San Diego Handicap at 1 1/16 miles.
Trainer Eoin Harty this morning confirmed the San Diego start, and named Aaron Gryder, who has been aboard for the past 10 races run by the 6-year-old son of Tiznow. Gryder has guided him to eight in-the-money finishes in that time, including four graded victories. The 14-length win in Dubai was one of the most impressive World Cup victories ever.
Colonel John then finished fourth in Santa Anita's Malibu Stakes in December 2008. He was sidelined briefly in January 2009 because of a pulled muscle before being scratched from the Santa Anita Handicap on March 7 when he was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection.
In what is expected to be a highly competitive San Diego in spite of the presence of the World Cup champ, a possible field of 10 or more could be shaping up. On the "definite" list, along with Well Armed, are the filly Life Is Sweet, trained by John Shirreffs; 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-trained Temple City.
Mast Track worked 5 furlongs this morning in 1:00.80.
FLEET TREAT FIELD PARED TO EIGHT WITH THREE SCRATCHES
The scratches of Gold Goddess, Earstoyou and Unzip Me reduced the field for today's $100,000 Fleet Treat Stakes to eight 3-year-old California-bred fillies.
Expected to go to the post in the Fleet Treat, the sixth race on the 10-race card, are Chalula One, Century Park, Dani Reese, Yodelady O, Ultra Blend, Pretty Unusual, Saucey Evening, the 5-2 morning-line favorite, and Excessive Blend.
The field for the day's feature race, the Grade I, $350,000 Eddie Read Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course is void of any early scratches and remains at eight. The runners are Monterey Jazz, the 2-1 morning-line favorite, Dakota Phone, Global Hunter, Thorn Song, Awesome Gem, Artiste Royal, Richard's Kid and Whatsthescript, second on the morning line at 3-1.
FIVE 3-YEAR-OLD FILLIES ALREADY SET FOR SAN CLEMENTE 'CAP
With a possible start in the Grade I, $350,000 Del Mar Oaks in the offing, five 3-year-old fillies have been committed to Saturday's running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Clemente Handicap at one mile on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Already listed as definite for the San Clemente are the Jeff Mullins-trained Carlsbad, with Tyler Baze in the irons; Internallyflawless, trained by Bob Baffert and with Garrett Gomez on the call; Nan, with rider Corey Nakatani for trainer Craig Dollase; the Mike Mitchell-trained Oilgonewile, with Joe Talamo, and Strawberry Tart, with Martin Garcia up for trainer Jeff Bonde.
Others considered possible for the race: Burg Berg, trained by Paco Gonzalez; Mrs Kipling, owned by chef celebrity Bobby Flay and trained by Neil Drysdale, and Third Dawn, whose trainer, John Sadler, said her workout on Sunday would determine whether or not she'd run.
Oilgonewile was clocked in 1:17.00 for 6 furlongs this morning.
REPO COMES OUT OF CTBA WELL, HEADING FOR THE DEBUTANTE
A happy Doug O'Neill reported CTBA Stakes winner Repo in great shape following her impressive victory Friday.
"She came out of the race perfect," O'Neill said of the J. Paul Reddam 2-year-old Cal-bred filly this morning. "We'll be looking at the Del Mar Debutante for a next start."
JOCKEY NAKATANI HUMBLE IN STAKES-WIN TIE WITH HIS IDOL
Corey Nakatani now is one win away from being alone as the second winningest stakes rider in Del Mar, following his triumph Friday with Repo in the CTBA Stakes for 2-year-old Cal-bred fillies.
The Friday victory was the 95th career stakes win at Del Mar for the 38-year-old California native, tying him with Laffit Pincay, Jr. for the runner-up spot behind Chris McCarron's 134 stakes victories at the seashore.
Nakatani's immediate response to the statistic was, "I'm too young for that." But then he went on to say, "It's a great achievement for me, especially since I'm tied with my idol, Laffit." He said he owes a lot of his success to riding "good horses for good people."
Trainer Doug O'Neill, who gave Nakatani a leg up on the winner, said, "Corey has been a big part of Team Reddam for a long time, and it was a pleasure to be part of this historic moment for him. He's had a really successful career, and he's still pumping along."
GARY STUTE'S PAPA CLEM CONTINUES ON ROAD TO HASKELL
While training at one of his favorite spots -- Del Mar -- Gary Stute still lets his eyes and mind wander East each day as he keeps track of the 3-year-old Papa Clem preparing for a start in the $1-million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park Saturday, August 1.
In May, Papa Clem took Stute to his first Kentucky Derby as trainer and rewarded him with third place in the Run for the Roses. That came on the heels of Papa Clem's victory in the Arkansas Derby.
Stute said Friday that if Papa Clem were to win or run well in the Haskell, he likely could run either in the Del Mar Derby or the $1-million Pacific Classic, both slated for Sunday, September 6 at the seaside oval.
An injury to jockey Rafael Bejarano required Stute to go to Plan B for his Haskell rider, but that was not a problem for him. "Elvis Trujillo will ride," Stute said. "He's been working Papa Clem and I think he's the track's leading rider [with 77 wins] right now."
As for tackling the super filly Rachel Alexandra, Stute said, "She'll lose one of these days and I'm hoping my horse will do it."
SEVERAL RACING FIGURES FROM "PEB" MURAL TO BE AT DEL MAR
A mural devoted to tracing Del Mar's history through the celebrities and horsemen who have populated the seaside horse racing Mecca will get its official recognition today.
The 6-foot-by-30-foot mural is the art of Pierre Bellocq, for years the caricaturist for Daily Racing Form, and is the product of approximately 18 months of work that included a vast amount of research as well as the fine painting of the master caricaturist.
The mural, which graces the east wall of the Clubhouse entrance, is rife with such popular "regular" celebrities from the track's early days as co-founders Bing Crosby and Pat O'Brien, Harry James and Betty Grable, Ava Gardner, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Jimmy Durante, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. Joining in, also, are revered horsemen Charlie Whittingham, Lazaro Barrera, Farrell Jones, Clement Hirsch, Johnny Longden, Bill Shoemaker, Laffit Pincay, Jr., Gary Stevens, Chris McCarron, Jenny Craig and her late husband, Sid, Rex Ellsworth and Bob Baffert.
A ceremonial nod to the mural will be given between races 4 and 5, at which time many of those characterized in the mural will be in the winner's circle to be recognized by DMTC officials.
In addition, Bellocq will be available at a spot near the mural from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. to sign posters, which can be bought at a cost of $19 at the Del Mar gift shop, and from 2 to 3 in the Plaza de Mexico near the gift shop.
SHORE LINES -- Continuing the musical chairs among jockeys and trainers has Alonso Quinonez leaving agent Richie Silverstein for new agent Nick Cosato, who for a long time handled business for Michael Baze ... The track's clockers continue to pile up the action, as they timed 193 workouts this morning to post another "busiest" day ... Pro Bull Riding holds forth tonight and Sunday night in the Fairgrounds Horse Arena, with the action beginning at 8. Gates open at 7 ... Tyler Baze has taken the early lead in the jockey standings after three days of action with five victories to three for Joel Rosario. John Sadler leads the trai! ners with three wins, followed by Doug O'Neill, Barry Abrams, Vladimir Cerin and Bob Baffert with two each.
TRAKUS FACTS -- Fri., July 24 -- Peak Speed: Race 1 (Polytrack) -- Pierre Bear -- 43.2 mph (first 1/8th); Race 2 (Turf) -- Stathy -- 45.2 mph (first 3/16th); Fastest Late Stretch Run: Race 4 (Polytrack) -- Stunningly -- 38.2 mph (final 1/16 th); Race 2 (Turf) -- Bruce's Dream -- 41.2 mph (final 1/16th).