Sunshine Numbers wins Carolina Cup by 27 lengths
Sunshine Number jumped to a huge lead, then refused to let up as the 9-year-old gelding won the Carolina Cup Steeplechase on Saturday at the Springdale Race Course.
Sunshine Number, ridden by Jody Petty, won by 27 1/4 lengths, finishing the 2 1/4-mile course in 4:23.00. The gelding is owned by Sue Sensor and trained in Camden by Arch Kingsley, a retired steeplechase jockey who had a pair of wins in the Carolina Cup feature during his career.
Swagger Stick finished second, just ahead of defending champion Spy in the Sky. Tax Ruling came in fourth and The Price of Love was fifth.
Sunshine Number led by 20 lengths after the first circuit, and Petty said he tried to get the horse to slow down just a bit.
''He was a bear and jumped unbelievably,'' Petty said. ''Once I got out there in front a little bit, I actually choked him to a couple fences just to get him to pop off the bridle and relax for a little bit.''
Petty kept waiting for someone to catch up, finally sneaking a peek behind him after the last fence.
''I was absolutely convinced that they would be coming at any second,'' Petty said. ''I was just keeping my horse together and just keeping my jumping and deal with the stretch after the last (fence). When I turned around and looked and saw how much I stayed in front, it was quite an amazing feeling.''
Kingsley and Petty decided before the race that if no other horse went for the lead on the first fence, the jockey would push Sunshine Numbers.
''Let's jump the first and see who wants it more,'' Kingsley said. ''There wasn't any doubt who wanted it more today. Sunshine just took it.''
In other races on Saturday's card, Class Century won the Camden Plate for maiden jumpers, while Music To My Ears needed a photo finish to win the DuBose Cup, a 3-mile chase over timber fences. The 13-year-old gelding was the oldest horse at Springdale Race Course.
Good Request won the Woodward-Kirkover Stakes, while Last Man Standing won the lone flat race. Pensy won the Sport of Queens Hurdle for fillies and mares.