Pierrot Lunaire, longest shot on the board at 48-1, took the lead over the final jump and held off a furious late charge from Spy in the Sky to win the $150,000 Lonesome Glory steeplechase (NSA-I) Sept. 27 at Belmont Park (VIDEO) .
The 8-year-old War Chant gelding was saddled by Bruce Miller for his daughter, trainer Blythe Miller Davies. In the 1990s, Bruce Miller trained Lonesome Glory, the champion steeplechaser for whom the race was named.
It was Pierrot Lunaire's first victory for owner Mrs. Calvin Houghland since taking the Iroquois (NSA-I) in May 2009. Unraced in 2010, the gelding made three starts in 2011 and three this year prior to the Lonesome Glory, all in graded events. Most recently he was fifth in the Zeke Ferguson Memorial (NSA-III) in June at Colonial Downs.
In the Lonesome Glory, Pierrot Lunaire stayed well back as Duc de Savoie led the field of 10 to the far turn of the 2 1/2-mile race over national fences. Launching his run on the outside after the second-to-last fence, Pierrot Lunaire was the first to clear the final hurdle and denied the runner-up by a nose after a spirited stretch battle. He completed the distance in 4:37.78.
"Bruce said he was training real well, otherwise he wouldn't bother coming up being a long shot, and he took the blinkers off," said winning jockey Bernard Dalton. "The horse just traveled and jumped. Bruce said to me, 'I want you to hold him up today. Just pop away, pop away, and don't come with a run until after the second-to-last fence.'"
Pierrot Lunaire returned $99.50 for a $2 win bet, and earned $90,000. Bred in Kentucky by Skymarc Farm out of the Hernando mare Playact, he has a 4-5-4 record from 25 starts with a bankroll of $355,579.
"I was really nervous because he did not run that well this spring and had not run since June," Bruce Miller remarked. "We put a lot of work into him to get him this far and to be honest with you, I didn't really think he would win. I thought he would run well, but I never expected him to win."
Spy in the Sky was two lengths ahead of Charminster, with Left Unsaid, History Boy, Divine Fortune, Duc de Savoie, Tax Ruling, and The Jigsaw Man completing the order of finish. All Together left the course before the final jump. Demonstrative was scratched.