Day At The Track

In The Arsenal needs extra fire-power from post 10

01:52 PM 21 Nov 2014 NZDT
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In The Arsenal, harness racing
In The Arsenal and driver Brian Sears
Nigel Soult Photo

MANALAPAN, NJ - November 19, 2014 - The dreaded 10-hole has landed on In The Arsenal like a 100 megaton bomb.

It was the two-year-old pacing colt's fate in last week's Breeders Crown eliminations, and driver Brian Sears fired him off the gate, utilizing a 26.3 opening quarter to take the lead and cut the fractions.

In the end, the 3-5 favorite tired and finished third by a length, snapping his winning streak at four.

"It was a tough first quarter out of the 10-hole," trainer Kelvin Harrison said of the elimination race. "You get a lot of horses leaving, and it was a tough spot. He didn't really settle that well after that. He raced very well, considering. He was three-deep for most of it."

So when the over-sized ping pong balls were pulled at Tuesday's post position draw, it was despair for Harrison, a long-time member of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey Board of Directors.

Fate had stuck her finger in Harrison's eye.

In The Arsenal will have to overcome post 10 again in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Colt & Gelding Pace, one of the eight divisions carded on Saturday night, November 22, 2014 at the Meadowlands. Four of the finals will occupy slots on the Friday night program.

"When you draw a bad post, you have to depend on someone else's luck," Harrison said. "You've got to rely on the trip, the luck. You don't win the Breeders Crown from the 10."

Occasionally, winners do overcome outside post positions, but everyone knew what Harrison meant.

In The Arsenal, a son of American Ideal - LadyOTRA, was made the 4-1 third choice behind elim winners Go Daddy Go [5-2 from post five] and Traceur Hanover [7-2 from post two].

Bred by White Birch Farm of Allentown, NJ, In The Arsenal was bought back out of the Harrisburg Sale when he only drew $7,500 in the bidding. He was a smallish yearling, according to Harrison, and the 14th foal out of her 21-year-old dam.

Michael Parisi's White Birch turned the colt over to Harrison to train and, thus far, it was fortuitous to be "stuck" with In The Arsenal as he has banked $271,318 this year.

In The Arsenal has six wins in his 10 starts: the elims and final of the LB Sheppard at Yonkers in July, a division of the Bluegrass and the International Stallion Stakes at the Red Mile in the early fall, a Goshen Cup division of the Historic Series at Harrah's Philadelphia on October 12 and the Matron Stakes at Dover Downs on November 7.

In The Arsenal's 1:49.4 mile on September 27 in Lexington has made him the only sub 1:50 two-year-old this year.

Harrison, 64, was born in Methuen, New Zealand, but is based in Bordentown, NJ and racing in New Jersey since the late 1970s.

He is not new to this rodeo. He has had seven prior Breeders Crown entrants, including Born Storyteller, who was second in the Mares Pace Final in 2006, and Free, who was third in the Mares Pace Final in 2007. He is looking for his first Breeders Crown champion.

Harrison trainees have earned nearly $12 million, including $560,419 this year, his best since 2008 when his stable exceed $900,000 in earnings for the second straight season.

Some of his other top performers have included Direct Flight, 1991 Interdominion winner Dare You Too, 1989 Woodrow Wilson winner San Francisco Ben and Frightening P.

White Birch Farm is no stranger to the Breeders Crown winner's circle. It bred two of the 2013 winners, Horse of the Year Bee A Magician and two-time Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous.

In The Arsenal is driven by Brian Sears, who has a record of 24 Breeders Crown wins - 44 of 107 on-the-board -- for $9.7 million in purse money.

The Two-Year-Old Colt Pace will be the seventh race on the 13-race card.

The draw, with driver, trainer and morning line, prior to scratches and changes:

1-Cooperstown-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke- 20-1

2-Traceur Hanover-Andy Miller-Corey Johnson-7-2

3-Lyons Levi Lewis-Ron Pierce-Ron Burke-8-1

4-Franzo-Scott-Zeron-Jimmy Takter-20-1

5-Go Daddy Go-John Campbell-Robert McIntosh-5-2

6-Sicily-George Brennan-Nikolas Drennan-20-1

7-Tomy Terror-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-8-1

8-Soto-Brett Miller-Jimmy Takter-30-1

9-Lost For Words-David Miller-Brian Brown-9-2

10-In The Arsenal-Brian Sears-Kelvin Harrison-7-2

By Carol Hodes, for the SBOANJ

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