Eight equine athletes, including a filly, will put Dubai World Cup winner Well Armed to the test as he heads a field of nine in Sunday’s Grade II, $250,000 San Diego Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

The start in the San Diego, in defense of his 2008 victory in the $1-million Pacific Classic prep, will be Well Armed's first since his 14-length victory in the World Cup March 28 at Nad al Sheba.

The Eoin Harty-trained son of Tiznow will carry high weight of 123 pounds, including regular rider Aaron Gryder. He'll be spotting his foes from seven to 15 pounds. The lowest weight goes to the filly Allicansayis Wow, trained by Patrick Biancone. She'll carry 108, including jockey Joe Talamo.

Others tackling Well Armed in his pursuit of two straight San Diego wins are the Doug O’Neill-trained, Tyler Baze-ridden Informed, winner of Hollywood Park’s Grade II Californian; old warhorse Magnum (with jockey Martin Pedroza) for Darrell Vienna; Temple City (Michael Baze), making his first stakes start for Carla Gaines; Song of Navarone (Joel Rosario), sharing second high weight of 116 pounds with Informed, for Walther Solis; Mast Track (David Flores), 2008 Hollywood Gold Cup winner for Robert Frankel; Kelly Leak (Mike Smith), a 3-year-old stakes winner for Mike Machowsky, and the Bob Baffert-trained Sangaree(Victor Espinoza), making his first stakes start.

One who didn’t show up to challenge Well Armed is the talented filly Life Is Sweet, trained by John Shirreffs for owners and breeders Pam and Martin Wygod. Martin Wygod made an early commitment to the San Diego for his three-time graded stakes winner, but pulled her from consideration when it was decided she wasn’t handling Del Mar's Polytrack surface satisfactorily. Shirreffs was non-committal this morning about a next start for Life Is Sweet, saying only, "We’ll see."


Though she doesn't appear to have the talent to score a victory in Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Clemente Handicap at a mile on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course, if trainer Jamie Lloyd's British-bred 3-year-old daughter of Storming Home was a naming game she’d be a shoo-in.

After all, can anyone beat Hameildaeme?

Lloyd, who bought the filly as a 2-year-old maiden at the Tattersalls October sale in 2008, said the name is Scottish for "Home Will Do Me." The Scottish tag was applied by her breeder, Scotswoman Lucille Bone. Lloyd said to make things easier for English-speaking folks, he and owner Jim Ford of Newmarket Thoroughbred Racing, pronounce the name as "Hamilldame."

The filly ran seven times as a 2-year-old but didn’t break her maiden until April 4 at Santa Anita, in her eighth career race. She came back to finish second in a Hollywood Park optional claiming/allowance race and then won at Hollywood in a similar race June 18. This will be her first venture into stakes racing.

It couldn’t be a much tougher test for her, seeing she’ll be battling the likes of Carlsbad, who has six wins in seven career starts, and Nan, who has run in five consecutive Grade I stakes.

Here’s how they'll line up from the rail, with weights and riders: Nan, 116, Victor Espinoza; Fastongrass, 115, Martin Pedroza; Strawberry Tart, 117, Martin Garcia; Carlsbad, 120, Tyler Baze; Oilgonewile, 117, David Flores; Internallyflawless, 115, Garrett Gomez; Kaweah Princess, 115, Joel Rosario; Starlarks, 116, Alex Solis; Acting Lady, 118, Joe Talamo; Hameildaeme, 116, Danny Sorenson.


It was a day of firsts on Wednesday for jockey Kyle Kaenel and owner-trainer Jerry Weaver and they accomplished it together, Kaenel winning his first Del Mar race and Weaver winning his first as a trainer at the seashore.

They combined to win the seventh race with Novato, a $19.90-to-1 long shot in an allowance/optional claiming race with a purse of $60,000 at one mile on the Del Mar turf.

Kaenel, making his debut as a rider at the seaside track after several years in various racing venues, including Northern California, said of the victory: "It feels great to get a win here. It looks like a lot of work is beginning to pay off."

The tall, slender rider says he's never had trouble keeping his weight down. "I can tack 114 or 115 easy," he said, "and I’ve never had to hit the hot box or the whirlpool to lose weight."

Weaver has been a licensed trainer since 1970 and began as a full-time dentist and a part-time trainer. "Then I switched that around and became a part-time dentist and full-time trainer," Weaver said. "Then when my daughter finished her master's degree in college I quit being a dentist altogether. It was like a little kid running away to join the circus.

"I'm thrilled with this win. I came down here to run good horses in a good place. I'm planning to try Santa Anita later in the year."

The 72-year-old Weaver has been a fixture at Northern California tracks for several years.


Del Mar’s first "Free & Easy Wednesday" proved a box office and pari-mutuel success as the track came off its first two-day weekend since 1945.

Attendance numbers bounced up more than 45 percent from 9,989 in 2008 to 14,503 on a cool and sunny afternoon at the seaside track. Handle figures were even better, with an increase of more than 46 percent from last year – $1,394,057 to $2,036,193.

The initial idea behind “Free & Easy Wednesday” was to give local fans an incentive to “come back” to the races after two days away. Del Mar’s racing season had been conducted on a six-days-per-week basis since 1946. Additionally, of course, the track wanted to provide incentives in a time of wallet- and belt-tightening throughout the country and did so by offering its fans free admissions, free programs and free seats, as well as half-priced beers, soft drinks and hot dogs.

"We made a gesture to our fans to encourage them to come on board," said Del Mar’s vice president for marketing, Craig Dado. "They responded very positively and we’re delighted with the start to a promotion that we hope will only grow throughout the summer."

The promotion required fans to sign on to the track's Diamond Club, which on other days offers 50 percent off all admissions, as well as additional incentives. Dado noted that more than 3,000 new Diamond Club cards were issued outside the track's gates Wednesday.


Joel Rosario's three-win day Wednesday sent him past previous leader Tyler Baze into first place in the race for the Del Mar riding title. After six racing days, Rosario leads the pack with eight wins, edging past Baze’s seven.

Close behind the leading duo are Victor Espinoza and Joe Talamo, both with six wins.

One of Rosario's victories came in the $100,000 Graduation Stakes for Cal-breds. The rider, who won the Hollywood Park title, overtook Espinoza and Grace Upon Grace in a torrid stretch duel to win the Graduation with the Doug O’Neill-trained Wolf Trail.

The respect held for Rosario among the training fraternity here was underlined when O’Neill said this morning he likely would not have run the maiden Wolf Trail in the Graduation had Rosario had not been available to ride.

O'Neill said the next likely start for Wolf Trail will be the $100,000 I’m Smokin Stakes for Cal-Breds Monday, September 7.

The early leader in the trainer race is defending champion John Sadler with five victories, closely followed by O’Neill’s four. Bob Baffert is third with three wins.


Non-favorites are ruling the roost at Del Mar after six racing days, with favorites winning at only a 14.29 percent clip. That’s eight winning favorites in 56 tries. Normally, favorites win about 30 percent of the time.

Turf favorites are hitting at an even lower pace as one out of 15 have crossed the line first, for a 6.67 percent rate.


Race fans will munch on donuts, drink orange juice and coffee and get some insights into the sport of horse racing as the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club puts on the first of its two “Donuts at Del Mar” days Saturday from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Seaside Terrace near the head of the stretch.

Trainer Barry Abrams and jockey Danny Sorenson will join emcee Trevor Denman in a question-and-answer session. Fans will get the chance to watch the horses on the track go through their regular morning paces.

SHORE LINES – Del Mar’s annual Chili Cook Off is scheduled for the track’s Infield Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. Fans can get free samples from the best chili cooks in the West and then pick their favorites in a "people’s choice" poll … Also in the Infield Saturday afternoon will be the Craft Microbrew Festival where fans can get a taste of some of the area’s finest handcrafted microbrews from more than 25 local breweries. There will be music throughout the afternoon from three local bands … The Wailers will be in concert Friday night after the track’s nine-race card. The music is expected to start about 7:30. Post time for the first race is 3 p.m. … Helen Montgomery-Drysdale will be signing her book, “Backside: The World Renowned Del Mar Racetrack,” Saturday from 1-2 p.m. in Plaza de Mexico across from the Silks Gift Shop … Jockey Mike Smith will not be ridi! ng at the seashore Saturday because he’s scheduled to be aboard Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird in the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park. Corey Nakatani will be at Saratoga to ride Tejida for trainer Michael Matz in the Grade I Diana Handicap on Saturday … Trainer John Shirreffs said champion Zenyatta would likely work on Del Mar’s main track Saturday or Sunday in preparation for defending her 2008 victory in the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch Sunday, August 9 … Among the notable horses turning in works today: Johnny Eves, 33.80 for 3 furlongs; Spring House, 37.40 at the same distance; Zardana, 47.40 for a half-mile! , and Zappa, 1:26 for! 7 furlo ngs.

TRAKUS FACTS – Wed., July 29 – Peak Speed: Race 3 (Polytrack) – Sam’s Special – 43.5 mph (first 1/8th); Race 7 (Turf) – Hudler – 42.5 mph (first 3/16th); Fastest Late Stretch Run: Race 4 (Polytrack) – Absolutlypositivly – 36.2 mph (final 1/16 th); Race 2 (Turf) – Storybook – 38.6 mph (final 1/16th).

(Current Through Wednesday, July 29, 2009)

Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Joel Rosario 48 8 5 9 17% $403,383
Tyler Baze 44 7 4 6 16% $253,237
Victor Espinoza 31 6 9 0 19% $297,216
Joseph Talamo 37 6 4 3 16% $251,440
Corey Nakatani 20 4 5 4 20% $432,840
Mike Smith 17 4 1 1 24% $156,640
Christian Santiago Reyes 28 3 4 5 11% $108,600
Michael Baze 21 3 3 1 14% $130,580
Garrett Gomez 37 2 7 2 5% $142,608
Alex Solis 26 2 3 7 8% $185,076

Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
John W. Sadler 19 5 4 3 26% $192,925
Doug F. O'Neill 23 4 2 3 17% $217,360
Bob Baffert 15 3 0 1 20% $103,334
Robert B. Hess, Jr. 10 2 2 1 20% $59,800
Barry Abrams 14 2 2 1 14% $112,300
Jerry Hollendorfer 13 2 1 3 15% $101,413
Michael Machowsky 10 2 1 2 20% $76,240
Vladimir Cerin 7 2 1 1 29% $97,920
Jeff Mullins 10 2 1 1 20% $78,480
A. C. Avila 6 2 1 0 33% $228,800

Winning Favorites Report
(Current Through Wednesday, July 29, 2009)

Winning favorites -- 8 out of 56 -- 14.29%

Winning favorites on Polytrack -- 7 out of 41 -- 17.07%

Winning favorites on turf -- 1 out of 15 -- 6.67%

Winning odds-on favorites -- 4 out of 8 -- 50.00%

In-the-Money favorites -- 25 out of 56 -- 44.64%

In-the-Money odds-on favorites -- 5 out of 8 -- 62.50%