02/11/2009 12:00AM

Square Eddie may be off trail


ARCADIA, Calif. - Square Eddie's shin injury may keep him off the Kentucky Derby trail.

Runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last October, Square Eddie has not trained for a week since being diagnosed with a sore shin. A recent X-ray showed a microfracture in the shin, trainer Doug O'Neill said. Another set of X-rays will be taken later this month to check on the leg's condition.

If improvement is evident, O'Neill hopes that Square Eddie can resume training. He admits that may be impossible.

"It's not super significant," O'Neill said. "If you don't slow down, it could be significant. We'll X-ray it again in a week or so. It's got to be completely clean, or we have no chance. It's an uphill battle."

Owned by Paul Reddam, Square Eddie has won 2 of 7 starts and $787,366. He won the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland in his U.S. debut last October.

In his only start this year, Square Eddie finished second to The Pamplemousse in the Grade 2 San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan.o17. Square Eddie is not listed among the 23 individual horses in the first pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which is being conducted this weekend.

"We'll do what's in his best interest," O'Neill said. "If he's not 100 percent by the first of March, we can't think about it."

The Pamplemousse targeting Sham

The Pamplemousse, who won his stakes debut in the Grade 3 San Rafael, is being pointed for the $200,000 Sham Stakes at 1 1/8 miles here Feb. 28.

Trained by Julio Canani, The Pamplemousse worked five furlongs in 58.80 seconds under jockey Alex Solis on Wednesday. The time equaled the second-fastest of 57 recorded works at the distance and was faster than Canani expected.

"The horse did it all on his own," Canani said. "He started slow and picked it up. He's doing great. Everything is under control."

The Sham is a leading prep for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on Aprilo4. The Sham field may include Balfour Park, who won a $100,000 claiming race for maidens on Jan. 28, the day he was claimed by a partnership. Craig Lewis trains Balfour Park.

Well Armed heading to Dubai

Well Armed, runner-up in the Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap last Sunday, will make his next start in the $6 million Dubai World Cup in the Middle East on March 28.

Third in the 2008 Dubai World Cup behind eventual Horse of the Year Curlin and Asiatic Boy, Well Armed had the lead in the San Antonio until the final furlong, eventually finishing a length behind upset winner Magnum.

The Pro-Ride synthetic track was fast for the San Antonio, but did contain moisture from recent rain.

"I thought he ran pretty well," trainer Eoin Harty said. "Magnum seemed to relish that kind of track. It seemed to move him up."

Owned by WinStar Farm, Well Armed won 3 of 7 starts last year, including the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes here last September. He is winless in two starts this year, beginning with a troubled fourth in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Handicap here Jan. 10.

Harty said the prize money in Dubai "is the incentive. I think he's headed in the right direction."

Large group aims for Big Cap

Well Armed seems to be about the only top-class older horse in California not being pointed for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 4.

The Big Cap had 17 probable starters as of Wednesday, but will have a safety limit of 14 starters. If more than 14 enter, weight assignments will determine the field.

Aside from Magnum, the leading contenders are Cowboy Cal, winner of Saturday's Strub Stakes, and Tiago, who was third in the San Antonio in his first start since a third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic last fall.

Trainer Bobby Frankel has two hopefuls - the European import Zambezi Sun and Mast Track, winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup last June. Zambezi Sun worked six furlongs in 1:11.60 on Wednesday, the fastest of 21 recorded works at the distance.

Owned by Juddmonte Farms, Zambezi Sun has won 4 of 11 starts and $822,862. He has won two stakes, including the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris in 2007. The Big Cap will be his first start on a synthetic track.

"He looked good," Frankel said of the workout. "I'm surprised he's got as much speed as he does considering he's run 1 1/2 miles his whole life."

Mast Track has not started since finishing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile here last October. Ideally, Frankel said he would like to give Mast Track a prep race before the Big Cap, but he has run out of opportunities.

"He's ready to run, and there is no place to run him," he said. "I'll have to train him into the race."

Other candidates for the Big Cap are Blue Exit, Colonel John, Court Vision, Dansant, Dixie Chatter, Informed, Matto Mondo, Monba, Nownownow, Rail Trip, Slew's Tiznow, and Victory Pete.

Briecat returns in Santa Maria

The timing of Saturday's $300,000 Santa Maria Handicap may work against Briecat.

A 4-year-old filly, Briecat has not started since winning the Grade 2 Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park in December. She was entered for the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff on Jan. 24 but missed the race because of an abscess in a foot.

"She's not quite as tight as I'd like her to be," trainer Vladimir Cerin said. "She's not 100 percent fit, but she's close."

Owned by David and Holly Wilson, Briecat has won her last three starts. The Santa Maria will be her first start in a Grade 1 since a sixth-place finish in the Santa Anita Oaks last March.

Briecat has drawn the rail in a field of 12 that includes Sunshine Millions Distaff winner Leah's Secret and Visit, who was third in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park in December.

Leah's Secret is trained by Todd Pletcher, who also entered the stakes winners Bsharpsonata and Roshani.