Hudson River Stables’ Arcadius made a strong move on the final turn of Nashville’s Percy Warner Park and repelled Bill Pape’s Divine Fortune to win the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) by a length on Saturday, May 12. Mary Ann Houghland’s Nationbuilder finished third, 12 3/4 lengths farther back, to complete a one-two-three sweep for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard.
Arcadius returned to the Iroquois Steeplechase winner’s circle in good condition and was unsaddled before he suddenly collapsed. The eight-year-old Giant’s Causeway gelding received immediate veterinary attention but had negligible heart activity and blood pressure. A necropsy found that a ruptured aneurysm in his pulmonary artery was the cause of death.
“Our thoughts are with [Hudson River Stables owner] Ed Swyer and Jonathan Sheppard,” said Iroquois Steeplechase Chairman Dwight Hall. “Arcadius ran a courageous race, and he was a richly deserving winner of the Calvin Houghland Iroquois.”
Ridden by Brian Crowley, Arcadius completed the Calvin Houghland Iroquois’ three miles over National Fences in 5:36.20 on ground rated as good. Irvin S. Naylor’s Tax Ruling, bidding for a third straight victory in the richest race on the National Steeplechase Association spring schedule, set the early pace and finished fourth. Mrs. Houghland’s Pierrot Lunaire, the 2009 Iroquois winner, finished fifth, and Naylor’s Decoy Daddy was sixth.
Arcadius won $90,000 for his victory in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois and increased his purse earnings in National Steeplechase Association-sanctioned races to $284,360. He also had won the $100,000 Helen Haskell Sampson (Gr. 1) at Monmouth Park in 2010.
Earlier on the Iroquois program, Hudson River Stables and Sheppard had won the day’s other graded stakes, the $75,000 Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2), with Parker’s Project, who prevailed by 1 1/4 lengths over Oakwood Stable’s Country Cousin. Naylor’s Via Galilei, the Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) winner in his first U.S. start on April 21, finished third, a length farther back. Parker’s Project, winner of a Saratoga Race Course optional allowance last August, ran the Marcellus Frost’s two miles in 3:57.40.
In the $50,000 Margaret Currey Henley for fillies and mares, half sisters Quiet Flaine and Ptarmigan finished first and second, respectively. Both were bred by owner Magalen O. Bryant, and both were trained by Doug Fout.
Quiet Flaine, a four-year-old Real Quiet filly, finished a length clear of Ptarmigan, the 2010 Life’s Illusion filly and mare champion. Arcadia Stable’s Opera Heroine, winner of the Mrs. Ogden Phipps at Saratoga last August, took third, and Well Fashioned was fourth. Mrs. Houghland’s Sweet Shani, bidding for a third straight Margaret Currey Henley victory, was pulled up. Quiet Flaine ran the Margaret Currey Henley’s 2 1/4 miles in 4:30.80.
In the afternoon’s featured timber race, Lion’s Double pulled a notable upset with a 1 3/4-length score over Mecklenburg in the Mason Houghland Memorial. Owned by Woodslane Farm and trained by Jack Fisher, Lion’s Double ran the Mason Houghland Memorial’s three miles in 6:27.20 under Willie Dowling.