Trainer Leslie Young dominated Saturday’s $25,000 Budweiser Holiday Cup when she sent out the first two finishers, Amy Taylor Rowe’s Mr. Universo and Boudinout Farm’s Harmony Bay, at the Aiken Fall Steeplechase.
Mr. Universo, who boasted the strongest record in a competitive field of five, won by three lengths under the trainer’s husband, reigning champion jockey Paddy Young. He ran the Budweiser Holiday Cup’s 2 1/4 miles in 4:25.20 on firm turf.
Stonelea Stable’s Balance the Budget checked in third, and Dale Thiel’s Sir Dynamite finished fourth. Completing the order of finish was Dr. John K. Griggs’ G G Gal.
Young posted her second notable victory in eight days. On Oct. 18, Irv Naylor’s Bittersweetheart was placed first in Far Hills’ $75,000 Peapack Stakes, virtually assuring the British-bred mare the Life’s Illusion Filly and Mare championship.
Mr. Universo, a 2007 classic winner on the flat in his native Brazil, entered the Budweiser Holiday Cup from a victory in a Shawan Downs claiming hurdle on Sept. 27. The 10-year-old Roi Normand gelding had won his maiden victory over fences at Parx Racing on July 1.
Paddy Young had another hurdle win on the card as well as a flat win on Sue Sensor’s Top Striker that does not count in the standings. He made up a bit of ground on leading jockey Willie McCarthy, who had one win at Aiken, and second-place Ross Geraghty, who rode Irv Naylor’s Able Deputy to a win in the International Gold Cup’s David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 1). McCarthy has 20 wins, Geraghty has 14, and Young has 13.