Pierrot Lunaire took a big step toward a possible steeplechase Eclipse Award when he came from off the pace to overtake Divine Fortune by three-quarters of a length in the $250,000 Grand National (NSA-I) at New Jersey's 92nd Far Hills Races Oct. 20.
Mary Ann Houghland's Pierrot Lunaire now has consecutive grade I wins on the National Steeplechase Association circuit. He tallied by a nose at odds of 49-1 in the Lonesome Glory Stakes at Belmont Park Sept. 27.
A crowd announced at 40,000 was on hand as Bernie Dalton rode the 8-year-old son of War Chant out of the Hernando mare Playact to victory over soft ground for trainer Blythe Miller Davies. Skymarc Farm bred the bay gelding in Kentucky.
"The Belmont race was a surprise, but this one wasn't," Bruce Miller, the veteran horseman who saddled Pierrot Lunaire for his daughter, told Brisnet.
Divine Fortune held second with Royal Bonsai, making his North American debut, finishing third.
Darren Nagle was aboard Divine Fortune, who took control at the start as Pierrot Lunaire raced toward the back of the pack in the 2 5/8-mile journey over National Fences.
Pierrot Lunaire advanced on Divine Fortune on the final turn and reached contention approaching the final jump. The two leaders battled to the wire with Pierrot Lunaire getting control late.
It was nearly nine lengths to Royal Bonsai. Demonstrative, the New York Turf Writers Cup Steeplechase Handicap (NSA-I) winner at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 23, had some traffic issues and settled for fourth.
Pierrot Lunaire was timed was 5:40. The only dual grade I steeplechase winner this year likely heads to the Colonial Cup (NSA-I) at Camden, S.C., Nov. 17.