Black Jack Blues takes the Grand National by 7-lengths.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Black Jack Blues takes the Grand National by 7-lengths.
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Skip Dickstein

Black Jack Blues Romps in U.S. Grand National

English import for Irv Naylor leads from start in Far Hills steeplechase event.

Irish-bred Black Jack Blues, relishing the soft going at Far Hills Races in New Jersey Oct. 22, strode away to a front-running seven-length victory in the $250,000 Grand National (NSA-I), the richest steeplechase event in the United States.

Owned by Irv Naylor and trained by Joseph Delozier III, the 8-year-old gelding by Definite Article went directly to the front for jockey Ross Geraghty. He set a contested pace before shaking off his challengers on the final turn and winning impressively. He completed the 2 5/8-mile distance in 5:29 4/5.

Black Jack Blues is a recent import to the U.S. from England after being purchased by Naylor in September. The dark bay won his American debut with Geraghty aboard in a restricted stakes over 17 furlongs Oct. 1 at Glenwood Park in Middleburg, Va. He also won that race, contested over yielding turf, in front-running fashion by 4 1/4 lengths.

Organisateur, a second Irish-bred owned by Naylor, was the runner-up in the Grand National, followed by Dynaski in third.

Race favorites Mabou and Tax Ruling, grade I winners earlier this year, struggled in the going and were not factors.

The victory capped a huge day for Naylor and Delozier. They also won the $75,000 Foxbrook Novice with Lake Placid, riden by Carl Rafter, and a $25,000 maiden hurdle with Imperial Gin and Geraghty.

Trained in England by Rebecca Curtis, Black Jack Blues has won 10 of 22 lifetime starts, including five of eight tries in 2011.

“Winning right off the plane was a pretty big effort, but to come back and do it again against a different group of horses, better horses, going a longer distance was something,” Delozier told Daily Racing Form. “He was more settled today, Ross was able to give him a breather, and that really helped. I wasn’t sure he’d be able to beat these type of horses.”

With this year's Eclipse Award now up for grabs, there is one more grade I event on the National Steeplechase Association's schedule -- the $100,000 Colonial Cup on Nov. 19 in Camden, S.C.