Back, and better than ever. Pierrot Lunaire, upset winner of the Grade 1 Iroquois over Good NIght Shirt back in 2009, came back to life last month at Belmont Park and duplicated that effort to win Saturday’s $250,000 Grand National at the Far Hills Races.
Owned by Mary Ann Hougland and trained by Blythe Miller Davies, the winner caught Divine Fortune in the final yards to win by three-quarters of a length. Royal Bonsai finished third with Demonstrative fourth. Bernie Dalton rode the 8-year-old son of War Chant, a Kentucky-bred who raced in England with trainer Paul Nicholls before being imported by Houghland late husband Calvin. After the Iroquois win, Pierrot Lunaire lost nine consecutive races over parts of three seasons, including two dull efforts at Far Hills in 2009 and 2011. He rebounded with a gutsy nose win over Spy In The Sky in the Lonesome Glory at Belmont Sept. 27 and came back even better in the Grand National.
Other Far Hills winners were Kisser N Run for Richard Valentine and Paddy Young in the filly/mare stakes, Dahoud for Jack Fisher and Ross Geraghty (subbing for injured Willie Dowling) in the maiden, Fog Island for Valentine and Matt McCarron in the novice, Top Man Michael for Irv Naylor, Brianne Slater and Geraghty in the 3-year-old and Straight To It for Jack FIsher and Darren Nagle in the timber.
The win gives Pierrot Lunaire the inside path for the Eclipse Award as champion steeplechaser. He is the only horse to win two Grade 1 stakes this year. Spy In The Sky and Slip Away scratched from the Grand National. Next stop, Colonial Cup Nov. 17.
The information from the International Gold Cup was sketchy Saturday evening, ST was in New Jersey, but winners included Grinding Speed in the timber stakes, Hulako in the maiden hurdle, Zulla Road (by DQ) in the steeplethon, Extraextraordinary in the starter allowance, Decoy Daddy in the amateur flat.