10/03/2015 11:23PM

Red Mile: In The Arsenal tops 3-year-old Bluegrass pace winners

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Kelvin Harrison’s In The Arsenal won the first of two splits for the $185,000 Bluegrass 3-year-old colt pace at The Red Mile on Saturday night.

Sitting off a hot pace set by Paparazzi Hanover, including fractions of 27 4/5, 54 3/5, and 1:23, driver Brian Sears pulled the even-money choice off the pylons and around a tiring pocket sitter in National Seelster. Catching Paparazzi Hanover at the top of the stretch, In The Arsenal progressed to the lead with Rock N’ Roll World, following his move after the leader, beginning to challenge for control. However, In The Arsenal dug in to the inside of Rock N’ Roll World and held a half-length advantage in the end in 1:52 3/5. Reggiano closed for third.

Getting the 13th win of his career and earning $885,973 in the process, the colt by American Ideal, out of the On The Road Again mare Ladyotra, returned $4.00 to win. He’s owned by breeder White Birch Farms and In The Arsenal Racing, trained by Kelvin Harrison, and was driven by Brian Sears.

“He raced well tonight,” Kelvin Harrison said. “Like you said [to interviewer Gabe Prewitt], he was good here last year. In the Messenger, he got it the way he likes it, and he got nailed. We had some sickness issues coming out of Tioga [in the Empire Breeders Classic], and still a little bit coming out of the Messenger, but I think we finally got him cleaned up.”

“We’ll be here next week for the Tattersalls Pace, and then hopefully everything’s good because then we’re going to the Breeders Crown,” Harrison also said.

Flushing cover as he began his bid past the half, Split The House rallied down the center of the course and by speed-maker Penji Hanover to take the second split of the Bluegrass in 1:53 1/5. Penji Hanover established fractions of 29 1/5, 57 1/5, and 1:25 3/5. Dude’s The Man, flushed out by Split The House after the half, came up to challenge Penji Hanover at the top of the stretch. Penji Hanover drifted off the pylons allowing pocket-rider Blood Brother to sprint into contention through the stretch. Off cover, Split The House managed to out-sprint Blood Brother heading to the finish, doing so while besting third-place finisher Penji Hanover and fourth-place finisher Dude’s The Man.

A recent purchase by owners Crawford Farms LLC and trainer Chris Oakes, the colt by Rocknroll Hanover out of the Camluck mare Shake That Junk claimed the eighth win of his career, and pushed his earnings to $241,481. Driven to victory by Tim Tetrick, he paid $3.20 to win.

“It’s really hard for these horses to go twice in one day,” Chris Oakes said in regards to scratching Split The House from the Little Brown Jug final. “He drew badly, and I hadn’t had the horse that long, so not knowing him and his characteristics, I didn’t want to put his future in jeopardy; I’d only had the horse a week at that point. He was good. You could see in the last turn, he was full of pace, and I figured he’d fire home pretty well, and he did.”

“I kind of had my eye on him and I mentioned it to the Crawfords,” Oakes also said in regards to purchasing Split The House. “I haven’t even been with them that long and they knew all about this horse. As soon as he became available, they jumped on it.”

“He wasn’t paid in next week [to the Tattersalls], but he does have the Breeders Crown coming up and I’m pretty sure that’s what we’ll be pointing to,” Oakes also said. 

Bluegrass filly pacers

Joe Holloway-trainee Divine Caroline put in the fastest mile of the three divisions for the $189,400 Bluegrass 3-year-old filly pace, winning in 1:53 2/5.

The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven out of the Art Major mare Loving Caroline stalked a pace of 29 1/5, 57 4/5, and 1:26 set by Band Of Angels. Driver David Miller tipped the even-money favorite first over after the half and applied pressure to the pacesetter nearing the top of the stretch. The two battled for control through the stretch, with Divine Caroline edging past race leader and forced to fend off the late-pacing Daut Full from off cover. She held Daut Full off, however, winning by about a length over the closer with Band Of Angels finishing third and Storm Point fourth.

Owned by Val D’Or Farms, Ted Gewertz, Rojan Stables, and Michael Ouriel, the $4.00 winner won the fifth race of her career, pushing her earnings to $396,633.

“She raced really well,” David Miller said. “She’s been really consistent this year and gives a good effort.”

“The rail’s very deep, still,” Miller also said. “There’s a little bit of a wind, and I guess they’re [the track crew] working a little too hard on the inside.”

“They’re [Bettor Be Steppin and Divine Caroline] very good and they’re very consistent,” Joe Holloway said. “[Bettor Be] Steppin had been the better filly for most of the time, but [Divine] Caroline’s been consistent and she may be the fastest. The next three to four weeks may be fun.”

“We go here [for the Tattersalls Filly Pace] then to Canada for the Breeders Crown,” Holloway also said.

Wicked Little Minx stalked the front for the entire mile until she had an opportunity to pace through a vacant slot in the stretch and sneak to the lead and to a 1:55 3/5 win in the first division.

Bettor Be Steppin set the tempo after circling by early leader Invest In Art for control. Once on the lead, she put up fractions of 28 4/5, 57 2/5, and 1:27 1/5. Pressure came nearing the three-quarter pole from Invest In Art, who popped out of the pocket heading into the stretch. Bettor Be Steppin held her at bay in the stretch, but drifted off the pylons in the process. That allowed for Wicked Little Minx to pace by the 3-5 favorite, who attempted to retake the lead approaching the finish but settled for second. Invest In Art finished third.

Wicked Little Minx, owned by Courant A B, paid $11.80 to win. This was the fourth win of her career, earning $193,679 to date. The daughter by Rocknroll Hanover, out of Beachy Lady by Jenna’s Beach Boy, is trained by Nancy Johansson and driven by Brett Miller.

“She’s gotten her things together from summer and onwards, and now she’s going for it again,” owner Anders Ström said. “Today’s trip by Brett was perfect. And well done by the stable, trainer, groom, and everyone because this horse has a lot to do in the future.”

“It’s so fun to also be involved in the pacing business,” Ström also said. “I’m a trotting person, but a few years back I told my friend Bernie Noren that I would like to get involved in pacing a little bit, and Bernie actually helped me pick this one out [Wicked Little Minx at the 2013 Harrisburg Yearling Sale].”

“Besides the Jugette, there’s been many other races so far where I’ve gotten very bad trips with her,” Brett Miller said. “Finally things worked out and we got a good trip.”

Storming from the back of the pack down the center of the track, Bedroomconfessions fulfilled her duty as the 6-5 favorite by winning the second split of the Bluegrass 3-year-old filly pace in 1:54 1/5. Setting the pace was Devil Child, with fractions of 28 2/5, 56 3/5, and 1:26 2/5. Around the far turn, Triple V Hanover tipped first over, with Moremercy Bluechip and Bedroomconfessions tracking the cover. Triple V Hanover edged into second after pocket-sitter Happiness retreated at the top of the stretch, while Moremercy Bluechip fanned wide of her cover, as did Bedroomconfessions. Once rolling from the back, Bedroomconfessions soon rushed up to and by Devil Child and edged away to a two length victory.

Devil Child held on for second, Triple V Hanover finished third, and Moremercy Bluechip was fourth.

Returning $4.60 to win, Bedroomconfessions is by American Ideal, out of Jenna’s Beach Boy mare Turnoffthelights. She’s owned by Riverview Racing LLC and Alagna Racing LLC, trained by Tony Alagna, and driven by Tim Tetrick. She obtained her sixth win of her career, earning $372,893.

“My wife made me buy the dam, Turnoffthelights,” owner and breeder Myron Bell said. “She’s out of a sister to Keystone Horatio; that’s a family that goes back to Smooth Fella and Happy Lady, and I always wanted to have a filly in this family. We bred her to American Ideal and Bedroom[confessions] was the first foal, so we’re happy to have her.”

“We bought her [dam Turnoffthelights] in Lexington about seven or eight years ago,” Bell also said. “We raced her as a two-year-old. She had minor ability.”

“She’ll [Bedroomconfessions] be bred to the Captain[treacherous] either next year or the year after, it depends on how well she wants to race,” Bell also said.

Live racing at The Red Mile continues on Wednesday, Oct. 7 with four divisions of the $268,000 International Stallion Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters. Wednesday also begins the week of matinee cards, with first race post set for 1:00pm. 

-edited release (Red Mile/Ray Cotolo)