Old pro Sunshine Numbers continued to add to his legacy with a runaway triumph in Saturday’s $50,000 Budweiser Imperial Cup at the Aiken Steeplechase in Aiken, S.C.
Sue Sensor’s 11-year-old, trained and ridden by Arch Kingsley, won for the ninth time in 19 career jump starts and five of his last six dating to a $15,000 claiming win at Aiken in October 2010. The New York-bred won the season-ending Hobkirk Hill starter allowance at Camden last year, and picked up where he left off – winning by 11 lengths over 2011 race winner Country Cousin with Extraextraordinary third.
Residents of nearby Camden, S.C., owners Dale Thiel and his daughter Laura Shull enjoyed a banner day at Aiken. Dale won two, a $25,000 optional claiming hurdle with Sir Dynamite (ridden by Mark Watts) for trainer Britt Graham and a $10,000 maiden claiming hurdle with first-time starter Meeting (Paddy Young) for trainer Ricky Hendriks. In the day’s finale, Watts booted home Moving Violation for Shull, to complete a double for Graham.
Farm d’Allie Racing won the year’s first jump race as Pleasant Woodman scored in a $15,000 maiden hurdle for trainer Doug Fout and jockey Jeff Murphy. Last year’s novice hurdle champion Alajmal tuned up for the Carolina Cup with a training flat score for trainer Janet Elliot and jockey Ross Geraghty.
The ST handicappers found some wins, with Sean and Joe each coming up with Alajmal (after scratches) and Sunshine Numbers while Tom had Alajmal.