02/09/2008 12:00AM

Well Armed on best behavior in San Antonio

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ARCADIA, Calif. - A six-day delay in the running of the $250,000 San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita made all the difference for Well Armed.

Well Armed led throughout the rescheduled San Antonio, but trainer Eoin Harty doubted that the 5-year-old gelding would have won the Grade 2 race if it had been run on Feb. 3. But when the San Antonio was postponed because of wet weather, Harty's confidence soared. He thought Well Armed was a calmer horse a week later.

"I'm not sure I would have won the race last week," he said. "When I schooled him, he was a little antsy and he never settled. I took him to Hollywood in the middle of the week and he worked [a half-mile] in 46 [seconds]."

That translated into better behavior for Well Armed in the paddock on Saturday. "He was a like an old cow in there," Harty said.

Ridden by Aaron Gryder, Well Armed ($30.40) held off a late rally from Heatseeker to win by a head. The San Antonio was Well Armed's first stakes win.

Awesome Gem, third in the Breeders' Cup Classic in October, finished third in the field of nine.

Well Armed ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.73. He led by 3 1/2 lengths at the eighth pole before tiring in the final furlong. "At the sixteenth pole, I didn't think it was going to be as close as it was," Gryder said.

Owned by WinStar Farms, Well Armed has won 4 of 14 starts and $250,803.