Sue Sensor’s Sunshine Numbers took command on Ford Conger Field’s final turn, jumped the final fence with a clear lead, and pulled away to an 11-length victory in the $50,000 Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3), feature race of the 47th annual Aiken Spring Steeplechase in Aiken, S.C., on Saturday, March 23.
Carrying 150 pounds, including trainer Arch Kingsley Jr., New York-bred Sunshine Numbers was coming off a season-ending triumph in a starter allowance at the Colonial Cup on Nov. 17. The Aiken Steeplechase marked the first race meet of the season that pays purses. The schedule opened with the Charleston Trials on March 17.
Oakwood Stable’s Country Cousin, the 152-pound highweight ridden by Roddy Mackenzie, finished second, and Clorevia Farm’s Extraextraordinary was third under Jeff Murphy. Irv Naylor’s Pullyourfingerout, winner of last year’s Budweiser Imperial Cup when the race was limited to novices, set the early pace and finished fourth.
On a course rated as soft after recent soaking rains, Sunshine Numbers ran the Budweiser Imperial Cup’s two miles in 3:51.20.