11/14/2002 1:00AM

Arsen may be hot holiday commodity

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ALBANY, Calif. - Arsen, who made his debut last Nov. 24 and compiled a record of two wins and two thirds in five starts, has returned to trainer Len Shoemaker's barn. He was given time off after finishing fourth in the El Camino Real Derby on March 9.

"He's gotten bigger, stronger, taller," Shoemaker said. "Because of the rains, we had some pretty hard [sealed] tracks last year, and I think it took its toll on him."

The decision to stop on the colt was easy.

"A young horse can sour if you go on with them," Shoemaker said.

Arsen was sent to Creston Farm where he was freshened. He has been back in Shoemaker's barn for more than a month now and is probably a month away from his first start - perhaps a conditioned race before Christmas, according to Shoemaker's timetable.

"They put 45 days of gallops into him," Shoemaker said. "When we got him here, we gave him a week or 10 days then went an easy three furlongs with him. We let him work because he was telling us he wanted more."

Arsen had two half-mile works, including one in the mud - a surface condition he handled well here last meet.

"We're looking forward to trying him on the grass," said Shoemaker.

Quick return for Profound Secret

Profound Secret, the 8-year-old who was pulled up in Saturday's Albany Handicap, is fine and had already returned to the track as of Tuesday. Jockey Joey Castro pulled him up early on Saturday, sensing a problem in the six-furlong race.

Trainer Kent Molinaro said Castro did the right thing and believes that Profound Secret, who had his shoes changed earlier that day, may have been uncomfortable.

"He walked off the track, but he was walking pretty gingerly," Molinaro said.

* Equibase trackman Darryl Hove will be the guest at the Daily Racing Form handicapping seminar scheduled for 11 a.m.-noon at the Paddock Pub. Hove will discuss trip handicapping and how to watch races effectively.

* Although there are no stakes races on Saturday, fields are full and superfecta wagering (requiring eight entrants) will be offered in each of the nine races.