01/18/2009 12:00AM

Drysdale has 'em surrounded


ARCADIA, Calif. - Pick any of the three horses trained by Neil Drysdale in Monday's $150,000 San Marcos Stakes, and it is easy to see him winning.

Marsh Side pulled an upset in the Grade 1 Canadian International at Woodbine in his last start on Oct. 4. Artiste Royal won the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Handicap at Hollywood Park last June. Obrigado was second in the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup at Hollywood Park last month.

They are expected to dominate the Grade 2 San Marcos, which is run over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

"It's not the ideal thing to be running three horses in the same race, but there are limited opportunities," Drysdale said.

Each of the Drysdale runners has something to prove.

Marsh Side ended an eight-race losing streak in the Canadian. Since that race, he traveled to Japan for the Japan Cup but did not start after developing an illness.

"He came back in great shape," Drysdale said. "If he competes well, he could go to Dubai."

Artiste Royal has started twice since the Whittingham, finishing second in an allowance race at Golden Gate Fields and a troubled 11th in the $2.5 million Hong Kong Cup in Hong Kong on Dec. 14. He was blocked through much of the stretch of that 1 1/2-mile race.

"He never got a chance to run," Drysdale said.

Obrigado, third in the San Marcos in 2007 and 2008, is winless in 10 starts since taking the Grade 2 San Luis Obispo Handicap in February 2007.

"He came out of his race very well," Drysdale said of the Turf Cup.

The Drysdale trio is part of a field of 10. Ferneley, Spring House and Stream Cat also are capable of winning with their best effort.

Spring House won the San Luis Obispo and Del Mar handicaps on turf last year but was ninth in the Breeders' Cup Turf here in October.

Stream Cat won the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap last July, and has run well over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

Ferneley was a stakes winner in Ireland last year but has yet to achieve that distinction in this country. He was second in the Grade 2 San Gabriel Handicap here Dec. 28.

"He came back blowing pretty hard," trainer Ben Cecil said. "I thought he got something out of it."