Day At The Track

In The Arsenal is gunning for Rooney Crown

07:20 AM 30 May 2015 NZST
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In The Arsenal and driver Brian Sears
In The Arsenal and driver Brian Sears
Nigel Soult Photo

Freehold, NJ --- Already a physically gifted harness racing colt, In The Arsenal added a new weapon to his cache during his offseason. A little bit of patience.

In The Arsenal, racing as part of a common-ownership entry with Betting Exchange, is the even-money morning line favorite in Saturday’s $300,000 Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-olds at Yonkers Raceway. In The Arsenal and driver Brian Sears will start from post No. 2 for trainer Kelvin Harrison.

Sonofa Sizzle, who has won four of five races this year including his Rooney elimination by a neck over Betting Exchange in 1:52.1, drew post eight and is the 3-1 second choice.

Saturday’s card also features the $117,724 Lismore Pace for 3-year-old female pacers. The entry of Totally Rusty, who is undefeated in four starts this year, and Strut My Stuff is the 1-1 morning line choice.

Last week, In The Arsenal won his Rooney elimination by a head over Rock N’ Roll World in 1:53.1. He is 2-for-2 this season and has won eight of 13 career races while earning $431,843 in purses. He is owned by breeder White Birch Farm and the multi-partnered In The Arsenal Racing.

“He’s matured a lot, as far as being a lot smarter than he was last year,” Harrison said. “Last year if you started him up you really had trouble holding him. Now he’s more manageable; his manners are a lot better. He’s way smarter. That’s the big thing for him. You can’t be wasting energy against these kinds of horses.”

Last year, In The Arsenal won the Lawrence B. Sheppard final at Yonkers in mid-July before being sidelined for more than a month because of illness. When he returned, he won four of five starts before drawing post 10 in both his elimination and final for the Breeders Crown. He finished third in his elim and second in the final.

In addition to his victory in the Sheppard, the colt’s triumphs included the Matron Stakes and divisions of the Bluegrass, International Stallion, and Historic-Goshen Cup.

In The Arsenal is a son of American Ideal out of the mare Ladyotra. He was bred by White Birch Farm, who bought back the colt for $7,500 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. Harrison attributed the price to In The Arsenal’s then-smallish size, as well as the fact he was the 14th foal out of the then-21-year-old Ladyotra.

“I think that kind of determined his price at Harrisburg, because he was really small,” Harrison said. “But he had great conformation; he was well put together.”

With a win Saturday, In The Arsenal would become the first horse to capture the Sheppard at age 2 and Rooney at age 3. The list of Rooney winners includes Horse of the Year recipients Precious Bunny, Cam’s Card Shark, Gallo Blue Chip, and No Pan Intended, as well as stars One More Laugh, Pet Rock, and the filly See You At Peelers.

“It’s his race to win or lose,” Harrison said about In The Arsenal. “He’s got a good spot, he’s got a good driver; if things go reasonably well for him I’m sure he’s going to be right there.

“He likes a half-mile track. He can pace the turns wicked fast. He’s good on any size track, but when you pace the turns as hard as he can pace them it’s a bigger advantage to him.”

Following the Rooney, In The Arsenal will head to Canada for the North America Cup. He also has the Max C. Hempt Memorial and Meadowlands Pace on his schedule in the next several weeks.

“Obviously I don’t think we’re going to be doing them all,” Harrison said. “We’ll take our shots and see how it goes. If everything went perfectly you would skip the Hempt and freshen him up for the Meadowlands Pace. The Hempt is big money, it’s a great race, it’s just a shame they’re all back to back.”

Following is the field in post order for the Art Rooney Pace with drivers, trainers, and morning line:

1. Rock N’ Roll World, Daniel Dube, Mark Silva, 7-1
2. In The Arsenal, Brian Sears, Kelvin Harrison, 1-1
3. Argue Hanover, Jason Bartlett, Casie Coleman, 10-1
4. National Seelster, Eric Carlson, Chris Ryder, 6-1
5. Betting Exchange, David Miller, Tom Fanning, 1-1
6. Bet You, Tyler Buter, Jimmy Takter, 20-1
7. Cartoon Daddy, Mark MacDonald, Ron Burke, 15-1
8. Sonofa Sizzle, George Brennan, Josh Green, 3-1

by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

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