Trainer Jonathan Sheppard enjoyed a banner day at the Monmouth Park-Meridian Steeplechase Festival Sept. 25, capturing his 1,000th career hurdle win when Arcadius took the $100,000 Helen Haskell Sampson Stakes (NSA-I) (VIDEO).
Arcadius wore down pacesetter Slip Away late in the lane to post a one-length victory in the Sampson, stepping the 2 ½ miles in 4:37 2/5.
“One thousand wins means I’ve done something nobody else has done,” said Sheppard after the career milestone. “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 a little lucky.”
Regarding Arcadius in the Sampson, he added, “The best thing about this horse is that he stays well and I thought if he was at the leaders and got a good last jump he would be okay.”
The Sampson was the first grade I win for Arcadius, a 6-year-old gelding by Giant's Causeway from the Farma Way mare Unify. Ridden by Brian Crowley, Arcadius races in the colors of Hudson River Farms.
Sent off the favorite in the field of seven, Arcadius paid $5.40, $3.20 and $2.20. Slip Away completed the $30 exacta and returned $4.40 and $3.20. It was 8 ¼ lengths back to Seer, who paid $5.40 to show.