Jane du Pont Lunger, whose major homebreds that raced for her Christiana Stables included multiple champion Go for Wand, died Tuesday morning at her Delaware home because of cancer. She was 87.
Lunger, who counted some 65 years in racing, took over the Christiana operation following the death of her husband, Harry, in 1976. The couple had enjoyed immeasurable success since starting in the sport in the 1930s with trainer Selby Burch. The couple's first stakes winner, Miss Ferdinand, won the 1939 Matron Stakes in New York, and she produced their initial homebred added-money winner, Sea Snack, who was a stakes winner three consecutive seasons. Over the years, Christiana raced some 45 stakes winners, most of whom were homebreds.
Christiana's best horse, Go for Wand, earned an Eclipse Award as best 2-year-old filly of 1989 following her triumph in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). The following year, she endeared herself to the racing public by winning six grade I stakes before suffering a catastrophic injury in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I). Go for Wand, who was voted champion 3-year-old filly, was buried in the Saratoga infield. She is a member of the Racing Hall of Fame.
Christiana's other top horses included Go for Wand's dam, Obeah, plus Linkage, Thinking Cap, Endine, Cyane, Smart, Light Hearted, Salem, Dance Spell, Discorama, Stem the Tide, Under the Rug, Broom Dance, and End Sweep, who currently ranks as an important stallion. Linkage, a grade I winner, finished second in the 1982 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Following Burch, the Christiana horses were trained by a number of conditioners, including Jack Healey, Henry Clark, Jim Maloney, and Bill Badgett, and they presently are with Jimmy Murphy in Maryland.
At the time of Lunger's death, Christiana owned between 60 and 70 horses, but those numbers will be reduced. The mares principally are boarded at Claiborne, and they also reside at Carter Thornton's Threave Main Stud near Paris, Ky.
Lunger's survivors included two sons, Brett and David, and two daughters, Ann and Mary. A son, Philip, died in June.