By Samantha Herstine:
The 79th Annual Carolina Cup will be run Saturday in Camden. Thousands of people will be arriving at the Springdale Race Course in their bright dresses and seersucker suits anticipating one of the largest social events of the season.
Arch Kingsley Jr., has been preparing for the Carolina Cup for a different reason. He is training Sunshine Numbers, a nine year-old thoroughbred, for his first steeplechase of the season Saturday.
Kingsley and Sunshine Numbers developed a special relationship during the six years they have worked together.
"My relationship with him is to figure out what makes him happy and help him to understand what I need from him and we meet somewhere in the middle," said Kingsley.
Kingsley says the thoroughbred lets him know what he's thinking.
"Sunshine Numbers is very particular and opinionated horse. He doesn't make any mistake about what's on his mind," he said.
Known as "The Dude" by most everyone at the stables, Sunshine Numbers is an exceptional racehorse. He won seven out of the last 18 races he competed in. Kingsley says that's an extraordinary record.
Sunshine Numbers' owner Sue Sensor says she knew the nine year-old horse was special the moment she saw him.
"When Sunshine came out of the van, he looked the part, and he took to jumping so easily. It's really something he loves to do and he's good at it," Sensor recalled.
Sensor and Kingsley agree training Sunshine Numbers is a team effort. Kingsley said training horses is his passion.
"It definitely touches a very unique part of your being. When you live this life you're around horses and particularly good ones; they have a way of getting inside you," he said.
Sunshine Numbers is getting older and may not have many years left on the race track. Kingsley wants the best for him even if they are not working together.
"He's given be an awful lot, so I'll be around to make sure he get it in return," said Kingsley.
The pair is focused on Saturday's race for now.
"He's as ready as I can have him," he said.