Morningstar Farm’s Diplodocus laid down all the pace in Saturday’s $30,000 Budweiser Holiday Cup and drew clear to a resounding 12 1/4-length victory in the Aiken Fall Steeplechase’s featured Sport of Kings maiden hurdle.
With assistant Eve Ledyard deputizing for leading trainer Ricky Hendriks, Diplodocus wasted no time in securing the front end under jockey Tom Garner. The five-year-old Sky Mesa gelding led by multiple lengths over the last fence and drew away to an easy victory.
Turks Head Turf’s Brooklyn Speights finished second, 1 3/4 lengths clear of Sam-Son Farm’s Aldous Snow in third.
Diplodocus ran the 2 1/4-mile distance in 4:46.20 on turf rated as good. In his first career start over fences, he had finished sixth at the Virginia Fall Races on Oct. 13.
Ledyard also saddled Rosbrian Farm’s Barhanpour for a victory in a $20,000 claiming hurdle. The two Aiken wins coupled with the victory by Rosbrian’s Optimus Prime moved Hendriks two races up on Jack Fisher in the battle for the year’s trainer title.