George and Lori Hall’s Sweet Ducky proved a much-the-best winner in the $70,000 Seton Hall University Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday, besting his rivals by an impressive four lengths at the wire.
In what looked to be a rematch of the Garden State Stakes run at Monmouth on Sept. 25, Sweet Ducky went into the gate for the Seton Hall just inside of Curlinello, who he bested by a half-length when they last met. On Saturday, Curlinello, dispatched as the odds-on favorite in the field of six 2-year-old colts, rallied outside in the lane, but was no match for the winner, who stepped the mile over the fast main track in 1:38 3/5.
“I think even more impressive than his race today is the way he’s maturing,” said winning jockey Joe Bravo. “He’s always had the talent, but now he’s starting to learn the game. He’s such a big animal, I think the two turns has really helped him as well.”
Sweet Ducky, up on the pace the whole way, returned $5.40, $2.80 and $2.20 and topped a $9.20 exacta. Curlinello paid $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show. It was another head back to Printing Press, good for a $2.40 show mutuel.
“Joe (jockey Bravo) asked about someone going to the lead and I told him it’s in his hands,” said winning conditioner Kelly John Breen. “He needed a little seasoning and Joe just said today he’s learning.”
Breen indicated that the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Jackpot on Nov. 20 at Delta Downs would be Sweet Ducky’s next start.
The Seton Hall University Stakes score was the third in four starts for Sweet Ducky, a son of Pulpit from the Storm Boot mare Storm’s Darling. He has now banked $148,250 for his connections.