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Well Armed fires best shot in Goodwood


By Jack Shinar, Bloodhorse magazine

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. "Itís certainly gratifying to have two horses pointing to the Breedersí Cup Classic. Iím just very fortunate to have them right now. Iíve managed to dodge land mines along the way (with his training schedule for each horse), but theyíre both very sound horses, and I think thatís 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 thatís 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 weíve another trick up our sleeve.Ē

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

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

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.

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