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Arcadius gives Sheppard milestone win

Arcadius record his first stakes win in the Helen Haskell Sampson (Christiana Scavuzzo/Equi-Photo)

Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, long a dominant force in American steeplechasing, registered his 1,000th career victory in that realm of the American turf on Saturday when Hudson River Farms' ARCADIUS (Giant's Causeway) collared long-time leader Slip Away (Skip Away) after the final fence and drew off to win the $100,000 Helen Haskell Sampson S. (NSA-G1) at Monmouth Park by a length under Brian Crowley. The 8-5 favorite in a field of seven, Arcadius completed the about 2 1/2-mile distance in 4:37 2/5 on firm ground.

"One thousand wins means I've done something nobody else has done," Sheppard said. "I knew I was in range, but I honestly thought I wouldn't be able to get there until next year. Thankfully, everything has fallen into place this year and we've gotten lucky."

Though winless in a major hurdle this season, Arcadius had shown consistency throughout the spring and summer and might now lay claim to being the leader of an often chaotic division. Third by six lengths to Tax Ruling (Dynaformer) in the Iroquois (NSA-G1) in May, Arcadius earned runner-up honors in both the A.P. Smithwick Memorial (NSA-G2) and New York Turf Writers Cup (NSA-G1) at the recent Saratoga meeting. He avenged his Iroquois and Turf Writers Cup losses here as Tax Ruling and stablemate Sermon of Love (Pulpit), who captured the Turf Writers Cup, finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

Arcadius paid $5.40, $3.20 and $2.20, while the 7-2 Slip Away returned $4.40 and $3.20. It was 8 1/4 lengths back to Seer (Pulpit), who nosed out fellow longshot Quiet Approval (Quiet American) for third and returned $5.40 at 15-1. The exacta paid $30, the trifecta $105.60, and the 1-6-7-4 superfecta was worth $1,183.60.

Three-times stakes-placed last season, including a third in the Lonesome Glory Hurdle (NSA-G1), Arcadius has now earned $209,187 from a line of 17-5-5-3. The six-year-old gelding was bred in Kentucky by Jayeff 'B' Stables.

Arcadius was produced from the Grade 3-placed Unify (Farma Way), a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Della Francesca (Danzig) and Grade/Group 3 scorers Caress (Storm Cat), Country Cat (Storm Cat) and Bernstein (Storm Cat). Caress herself is the dam of Grade 1 winner Sky Mesa (Pulpit) and multiple Grade 3 victress Golden Velvet (Seeking the Gold). In addition to various Grade 3 scorers, this is the family of 1984 champion two-year-old filly Outstandingly (Exclusive Native), and Grade/Group 2 winners Sensation (GB) (Soviet Star) and Batroyale (Batonnier).

Arcadius' fifth dam is Busanda (War Admiral), who produced the legendary Buckpasser (Tom Fool).

Looking ahead, the final two major jump races of the year are the October 23 Grand National (NSA-G1) at Far Hills, New Jersey, and the November 13 Colonial Cup (NSA-G1) at Camden, South Carolina.

Sweet Ducky is now unbeaten in two starts on fast tracks (Christiana Scavuzzo/Equi-Photo)

In the $100,000 Garden State S. for two-year-olds, the featured event on the flat, George and Lori Hall's SWEET DUCKY (Pulpit) pressed a slow pace set by Bravo Romeo (Bwana Charlie) to the far turn, opened up 2 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining, then held off the late charge of Curlinello (Smart Strike) to win by a half-length under Joe Bravo. The final time for one mile on the fast main track was 1:39 4/5. The 7-1 fourth choice, Sweet Ducky paid $16.20.

A five-length debut winner for trainer Kelly Breen at Monmouth in June, Sweet Ducky failed to factor in the July 25 Tyro S. after being bumped at the start. The 4-5 favorite in that 5 1/2-furlong dash contested in the mud, Sweet Ducky wound up fourth beaten 6 1/2 lengths. He's now bankrolled $106,250 from a line of 3-2-0-0.

A $135,000 Keeneland September yearling, the Kentucky-bred Sweet Ducky was produced by the multiple Grade 2-placed stakes winner Storm's Darling (Storm Boot). His fourth dam is 1962 champion two-year-old filly Smart Deb (Dedicate).


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