Louisville, KY --- It wasn’t exactly in the cards for White Birch Farms to be racing In The Arsenal, but after capturing his $25,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard elimination at Yonkers Raceway on July 12, in front running fashion, they have to feel vindicated after the colt came home from last year’s Harrisburg Sale rather than being in someone else’s barn.
“He didn’t reach his reserve,” said Kelvin Harrison, the colt’s conditioner. “So White Birch bought him back for $7,500. It was because he was small, but not real small. He was also absolutely correct.
“I think it was because he was the 14th foal out of this mare (Ladyotra). A lot of today’s yearling buyers will steer away from horses after they are the eighth foal for some reason. Also, the thing is they grow and that’s exactly what he did. Even if he had turned out to be a small 2-year-old that wouldn’t have bothered me as Direct Fight (a former Harrison trainee that earned $825,052 in his career) was and it never bothered him.”
The son of American Ideal and the On The Road Again mare Ladyotra, In The Arsenal seeks his second consecutive triumph and the second of his three race career on Saturday (July 19) in the $175,000 Sheppard final. In The Arsenal will leave from post position two with Eric Goodell holding the lines in race five. He is the 5-2 morning line second choice in a field of eight.
The colt will face some stiff competition from 8-5 morning line favorite Cartoon Daddy, who is a perfect two-for-two with more than $31,000 in the bank and was the other Sheppard elimination victor.
But back to In The Arsenal’s family tree. The homebred’s dam was 21 years old when she foaled him, but Ladyotra, who earned more than $115,000 in her racing career, has been as prolific as they come in the breeding shed. From her 14 foals she has produced Exquisite Art (1998, Artsplace, p,3,1:50.4, $578,544), Otra Sign (1999, Life Sign, p,1:54.2f, $115,458), Queen Otra (2001, Artsplace, p,4,1:51, $200,837) and Premier (2007, Artsplace, p,1:51.3f, $158,233).
Ladyotra has dropped nine winners and the 12 yearlings that were sold to other buyers at public auction fetched the sum of $589,000.
It is still early in his racing career, but In The Arsenal certainly possesses the genetic material to be a very nice horse.
“I watched He’s Watching last year in the final of the (New York) Sire Stakes,” Harrison said. “He was a small horse but he has the same sire as In The Arsenal and he certainly could go fast. I watched him again this year in the eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace and he had not grown much from last year but was really muscled out. Then you saw what he did the night of the Meadowlands Pace. 1:46.4. That time speaks for itself.
“In The Arsenal has actually grown and is now probably bigger than He’s Watching. He is no longer a small horse but a medium sized one. He’s very muscular and he’s a well put together horse. He is also great gaited. The only thing that ever concerned me with him was he might get a little bit hot.”
The colt was sixth in his career debut on July 5, a $15,000 2-year-old race at Meadowlands Racetrack, after having the lead at the half.
“It wasn’t the greatest of trips,” Harrison said. “Brian (Sears) chased him up a little bit out of the gate and then he got him going. He put him in the hole and then he didn’t get out of the hole, then was a bit aggressive when he did let him go. He still paced nicely right to the wire.
“For the elimination, I thought when the sheet came out, we would put him in the hole and race him from behind, but when I saw what was in there I told Eric (Goodell) to just not get him in trouble.”
After Saturday’s engagement, In The Arsenal will appear in most of the major stakes races for his age, gait and gender.
“We have him staked up to everything,” Harrison said. “He just has real, real high speed. I think he’s one of those that has enough speed to make his own race. He’s also one of those horses that has never had a bad day. Even when he was training, I trained him with a group and put him behind, etc. He just always did everything so easily. I even worked him at White Birch in 1:59 before I even qualified him. Even then he was really handy.”
Here is the field for the Sheppard final, with drivers, trainers and morning line odds:
1-Rock N’ Roll World-Eric Carlson-Nifty Norman-10-1,
2-In The Arsenal-Eric Goodell-Kelvin Harrison-5-2,
3-Perfect Bet, Jeff Dauplaise, Jeff Dauplaise-12-1,
4-Mystical Pacer-Brent Holland-Erv Miller-10-1,
5-Cartoon Daddy-George Brennan-Ron Burke-8-5,
6-Parklane Eagle-Jordan Stratton-Peter Foley-20-1,
7-Lone Survivor-Brian Sears-Sam DePinto-6-1,
8-Byby Landon-Jason Bartlett-Allan Johnson-8-1.
Courtesy of Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent