05/28/2015 9:39AM

Yonkers: In The Arsenal ready to fire in Rooney final

Mike Lizzi
In The Arsenal looks for his ninth win in 14 career starts on Saturday.

You can tell talking with trainer Kelvin Harrison that he’s just as calm as his colt In The Arsenal heading into Saturday’s $300,000 Art Rooney final at Yonkers Raceway.

The conditioner had a problem last year with his talented Sheppard winner. “He was a bit headstrong last year,” said Harrison. “But he’s more relaxed this year.” And so is Harrison as he embarks on a yearlong quest in the sport’s most prestigious division. “The prep work was done over the winter,” said Harrison. “I trained him behind horses and that has made a difference.”

Not only has In The Arsenal been more relaxed this year, his driver Brian Sears has showed extreme patience in guiding the son of American Ideal to consecutive victories, setting him up for his first major three-year-old clash at Yonkers.

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“Brian is absolutely perfect for this horse,” said Harrison of his driver on Saturday and going forward.

Clearly Sears and Harrison are in line with conserving as much energy as possible while still getting the job done. While both have strong desires to win each and every race, Harrison is realistic. “You’re not going to win every race. I’ve been around too long to think otherwise,” said Harrison.

At the same time, In The Arsenal enters Saturday’s Rooney as the clear favorite having drawn post two. The colt has proven himself over the half-mile track and looks to become the first ever Sheppard Pace winner at two that has come back to win the Rooney at three. The Rooney is now in it’s 25th year.

“I trained him lightly today,” said Harrison on Wednesday morning.

In The Arsenal has captured both of his three-year-old starts, winning his debut at Tioga in New York Sire Stakes action in a spirited 1:50 mile.

“They pushed a lot but I think he was within himself,” said Harrison of the first-over victory in a surprisingly fast event.

Last week Sears elected to be the one dictating the fractions and for a period it looked like he may have gone too slowly, giving pocket-sitter Rock N Roll World a chance to outsprint In The Arsenal in a Rooney trial. In The Arsenal held on by a head after Sears got his attention in a 1:53 1/5 mile.

On Saturday In The Arsenal, who will be teamed with Betting Exchange (post 5) in the wagering, will again have to deal with Rock N Roll World. That son of champions Rocknroll Hanover and Worldly Beauty has emerged this year for trainer Mark Silva finishing second in all four of his races, all stakes events. He showed he can handle the half-miler last week and drew along the pylons for Dan Dube in the final.

The Casie Coleman-trained Arque Hanover (post 3) could be a sleeper in the field. The New York-bred son of Rock N Roll Heaven was climbing over pacesetter Soto in last week’s elimination heat and made a break. He recovered quickly enough to earn a spot in the final. Jason Bartlett drives Arque Hanover.

Sonofa Sizzle scored an upset in one of the two Rooney trials last Saturday with Brian Sears aboard. The Delaware champion loses Sears for the final and also is victimized by the draw that spotted him with the eight-hole. Trainer Josh Green has summoned George Brennan for the drive and that could mean Sonofa Sizzle will be in motion early.

The $300,000 Rooney goes as race four with the $117,724 Lismore for three-year-old filly pacers carded as race six of a dozen on the program. The Lismore also pits the top Delaware-sired fillies against the best from New York with Delaware’s Totally Rusty and Purrfect Bags sandwiching New York’s Sassa Hanover in the draw.

Speaking of mares, Harrison expects his four-year-old Beach Story to be a bit better this week making her third start in the ninth race at the Meadowlands on Friday. “She had some problems with allergies last week but I think we have that under control,” said Harrison.