One. Just one. He deserved one. Divine Fortune finished second in the Grand National, the Iroquois (twice) and the Colonial Cup (twice). He fell at the last fence of the Turf Writers – while battling for the lead.
Surely, there was a Grade 1 steeplechase with his name on it.
Saturday, it finally arrived – delivered in a front-running tour de force that last 2 5/8 miles in the $250,000 Grand National at Far Hills, N.J. Owned by Bill Pape and trained by Jonathan Sheppard, the long-legged chestnut won by 9 lengths over Gustavian with Demonstrative third. It was victory number 10 for the Pennsylvnaia-bred son of Royal Anthem, who carried Darren Nagle to the victory. Divine Fortune passed $600,000 in jump earnings with the victory.
The win threw another wrinkle into the steeplechase championship picture as five horses have won the five Grade 1 jump races in 2013. The Colonial Cup will help decide things next month.
In other Far Hills action:
Pape and Sheppard’s Bluegrass Summer won a division of the Foxbrook novice, a $75,000 hurdle stakes. The Saratoga winner, ridden by Bernie Dalton, prevailed by a nose over Staying On with Grand Tier third.
Irv Naylor and Cyril Murphy teamed up to take another Foxbrook with Sacred Soul. The Irish import carried Ross Geraghty to victory, romping by 8 lengths over Alburj with Powerofone third. Naylor and Murphy also won a timber allowance with veteran Chess Board (Willie McCarthy).
Clarke Ohrstrom’s Kisser N Run (Robbie Walsh) collected her second consecutive $75,000 Peapack for fillies and mares. Richard Valentine trained the winner.
Edie Dixon’s Schoodic won his jump debut in the $25,000 Gladstone for 3-year-olds. Jack Fisher trained the winner.
Trainer Janet Elliot sent out Canaveral (Dalton) to win the $25,000 maiden hurdle by a length over Broxbourne and Wildcatter.
Down the highway in Virginia, the International Gold Cup went to Merriefield Farm’s Foyle, who defeated Straight To It by three-quarters of a length for trainer Bruce Fenwick and jockey Kieran Norris. Tax Ruling was third in the $50,000 timber stakes.
Other Gold Cup winners were Awesome Pearl (maiden hurdle), Schoolhouse Woods (steeplethon), Forgotten Man (allowance hurdle), Lea Von (maiden hurdle) and Hear The Word (Virginia-bred flat).