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Saturday came with the threat of rain safely offstage and with Armbro Ranger on sure footing. Ollie Mumford, the trainer of Richmond, was not so certain of his morning-line favorite. " Richmond has a tendency to be lazy sometimes," he muttered.
When it was race time for the first division, O'Brien had to be helped onto the sulky. He found sitting less painful than standing, and on this note of relative cheer he drove Armbro Ranger at a furious pace. O'Brien beat back an early challenge by Beautron Hanover and a late one by Richmond, who finished second. The time of the opening-heat victory was a track-record 1:56[3/5]. "That's a lot more than I thought they'd go," said Dancer. The record was all the more startling because Armbro Ranger threw two shoes during the race.
In the second division, Billy Haughton's Windshield Wiper was rated as Keystone Ore's biggest threat, but students of the occult were intrigued with Warm Breeze, off at 24 to 1. The horse was afflicted with an ailment known as "the wobbles" and did not race in 1975, but his owner sent a picture of the animal to a "psychic," Ed Snedeker of Naugatuck, Conn., who instructed trainer-driver Dick Farrington to rub a secret substance under the horse's mane. The substance turned out to be castor oil, but after its initial application last spring, Warm Breeze had no further trouble getting to the starting gate. Indeed Warm Breeze even managed to win five of 14 starts. "I don't know if it helped or not, but it didn't hurt," said Farrington, who planned to find out early Saturday if the stars were in the right configuration. "I'm afraid of that rail horse, Keystone Ore," he said. "If I don't get on top right away, I'm in trouble. Quick."
Stanley Dancer was not about to let that happen. However, he allowed George Sholty to take Raven Hanover to the lead at the half-mile pole, then dropped in behind him with Windshield Wiper third. Down the backstretch, Keystone Ore made his move and no one could stop him as Dancer rolled to a 2�-length victory in a world-record 1:56 for a ?-mile track. Warm Breeze was an unlucky sixth while Windshield Wiper finished fourth.
Dancer was relieved. Keystone's stock was back on the rise. "No matter what happens in the final," he said, "he proved that he is a great horse."
In the draw for post positions in the final, Armbro Ranger won the rail and Keystone Ore, the betting favorite, was slotted just outside of him. Dancer's strategy was to try to rush to the top early, but O'Brien parked him outside. Dancer dropped in behind him at the quarter pole. They raced that way for the next half mile, then Dancer swung wide for the final dash. Briefly, with a sixteenth of a mile to go, Keystone Ore edged in front, but Armbro Ranger came on again to win by a head. His time was another amazing 1:56, tying the hour-old world record. Richmond finished third and Del Miller, catch driving Beautron Hanover, was fourth.
After Armbro Ranger and Keystone Ore crossed the wire, O'Brien shouted over to Dancer, "The luck of the draw beat you. They're both great colts."
Afterward, O'Brien said, "Ranger was probably as good today as he ever was, or ever will be." He added that his pains probably would be hurting much more if he had lost. He walked slowly, and the eyes of the other horsemen followed him as they murmured congratulations. O'Brien had won, but, more important, he had won doing it his way. Having done so, he did it their way—driving to Columbus, Ohio, aches and all, for races at Scioto Downs. With one of those newfangled sulkies.