10/20/2008 11:00PM

Well Armed in as Mast Track exits


ARCADIA, Calif. - Neither Bobby Frankel, the owner and trainer of Mast Track, nor Eoin Harty, the trainer of Well Armed, were desirous of having their horses, who have similar front-running styles, compete against one another in the Breeders' Cup on Saturday at Santa Anita. By the end of the day Monday, it worked out much more favorably for Harty and Well Armed than for Frankel and Mast Track.

Well Armed, who was pre-entered in both the $1 million Dirt Mile and the $5 million Classic, was confirmed on Monday afternoon by Harty as a definite starter in the Dirt Mile. Well Armed will not have to deal with Mast Track's speed, because Frankel said Mast Track was found to have a quarter crack after training on Monday and was out of the Breeders' Cup.

"The barn called me after training and said he had a quarter crack," said Frankel, who was at Santa Anita earlier Monday during training hours. "I guess it wasn't meant to be."

Like Well Armed, Mast Track was pre-entered in both the Dirt Mile and the 1 1/4-mile Classic.

"If he was 6-5, it would be upsetting," Frankel said. "Maybe I saved myself some money."

Frankel last week said he wanted to run Mast Track in the Classic, but on Monday morning, he said he was thinking of going in the Dirt Mile. Well Armed was initially pointing to the Dirt Mile, but there had been some sentiment in his camp in recent days to go in the Classic. The connections of both horses were eyeing one another warily Monday, neither side apparently wishing to end up in the same race when final entries were taken Tuesday morning.

Well Armed signaled his readiness for the Dirt Mile with a strong half-mile work in 46.80 seconds on Monday morning at Santa Anita. He was ridden by Aaron Gryder, his regular jockey, and Harty remarked that Well Armed "was just dragging" Gryder around.

Harty trains Well Armed for the WinStar Farm of Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt. Harty and Casner met later in the morning, and agreed the Dirt Mile was the preferred race for Well Armed.

Contributing to their decision is that Harty and WinStar already have Colonel John, the Travers winner, in the Classic.

There were 14 horses pre-entered in the Dirt Mile. A maximum of 12 can start. But far fewer than that were expected to enter the race. First Defence was likely to go in the Sprint, Jonesboro and Mast Track are not running in the Breeders' Cup, Lord Admiral was a possibility for the Mile on turf, and Pyro was announced on Monday by trainer Steve Asmussen as a definite starter in the Classic.

Another front-running threat in the Dirt Mile, Two Step Salsa, worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 on Sunday under jockey Martin Pedroza for trainer Julio Canani.