Divine Fortune takes Colonial Cup

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Horses like Divine Fortune defy logic. Rules don’t apply. He’s 11, as good as he was at 5 (only different). He’s absorbed some hard falls and ugly losses, thrown some wild pitches and even struck out a few times. But he keeps stepping in and taking his cuts.

Saturday was no different as Bill Pape’s veteran wired five others in the Grade 1 Colonial Cup at Springdale Race Course in Camden, S.C. The Pennsylania-bred shot to the front under Darren Nagle and owned the race from there – jumping fluidly and boldly and putting the others under pressure. He won by 9 lengths over Barnstorming with favorite Demonstrative third. The latter’s three-race Grade 1 winning streak came to a halt. In five meetings this year, three went Demonstrative’s way and two went to Divine Fortune. That result, and a big earnings lead, should give Demonstrative the Eclipse Award as champion steeplechaser but did little to take away from Divine Fortune’s performance Saturday.

Sheppard called the rangy chestnut “a remarkable horse,” unfazed by the losses and capable of a breakout effort at any time. The son of Royal Anthem won for the 11th time in 40 jump starts and passed $800,000 in career earnings – just the fifth American steeplechaser to reach that figure (along with Demonstrative). 

Other winners Saturday were Overhwelming in the maiden hurdle, Handsome Hoyt in the 3-year-old stakes, Straight To It in the open timber, Wantan in the starter allowance, Long House Saint in the allowance and Green Lazer in the training flat.

Most of the National Steeplechase Association titles were salted away before Saturday, but championships go to owner Irv Naylor, trainer Jack Fisher, jockey Willie McCarthy. Demonstrative gets the prize as leading owner with other horse divisions to Hot Rize (timber), All The Way Jose (novice), Perfect Union (3-year-old) and Bittersweetheart (filly/mare).