Good Night Shirt will try to win the Iroquois Steeplechase Stakes for the third consecutive year.

Good Night Shirt will try to win the Iroquois Steeplechase Stakes for the third consecutive year.

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Good Night Shirt After 3rd Straight Iroquois

Two-time defending steeplechase champion seeks third straight win in Nashville, Tenn.

Good Night Shirt is the overwhelming favorite to win the $150,000 Iroquois Steeplechase Stakes (NSA-I) for the third consecutive year May 9 in Nashville, Tenn.

The two-time defending Eclipse champion steeplechase horse won the Iroquois, which is contested at the steeplechase grounds at Percy Warner Park, in both 2007 and 2008. If Good Night Shirt succeeds again in the three-mile event, he will be the first to do so in three consecutive renewals.

The 8-year-old Maryland-bred gelding opened his 2009 campaign in fine style March 28, winning the Carolina First Carolina Cup (NSA-II) at a rain-drenched Springdale Race Course in Camden, S.C. Last year, he broke the National Steeplechase Association's single-season earnings record.

Owned by Virginian Sonny Via and trained in Maryland by Jack Fisher, Good Night Shirt ran his winning streak to seven races dating back to November 2007 with his Carolina Cup victory. A son of Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Concern, the chestnut has 12 steeplechase wins in his career and is second behind only McDynamo on the career earnings list with $979,493. Good Night Shirt is bidding to become the first horse to  earn an Eclipse three-peat since Flatterer won four straight in 1983-86.

Regular jockey Willie Dowling will be aboard Good Night Shirt, who lines up in the third position. Five opponents, who will compete at equal weights of 158 pounds, have been entered against Good Night Shirt in the Iroquois. 

The New Zealand-bred Isti Bee won Middleburg and placed third in the Carolina Cup, making him the leading contender. Another to watch is Pierrot Lunaire, who was recently purchased by local owner Calvin Houghland to run in the Iroquois. Pierrot Lunaire is an English horse and has yet to compete in the United States.

Seven races with purses, awards and bonuses totaling $416,000 are scheduled throughout the day, including the Bright Hour Amateur Hurdle and Guilford Dudley Jr. Memorial Flat Race.

Since being designated in 1981 as the official charity of the Iroquois Steeplechase, Monroe Carell Jr. Childrens Hospital at Vanderbilt has received more than $9 million from the event proceeds.

$150,000 Iroquois Steeplechase (NSA-I, Race 7), 4 & Up, 3 Miles (National Fences)
PP., Horse, Jockey, Owner, Trainer
1. Pierrot Lunaire, C. Miller, Calvin Houghland, F. Bruce Miller
2. Chivite (IRE) (S), X. Aizpuru, Calvin Houghland, F. Bruce Miller
3. Good Night Shirt, W. Dowling, Harold A. Via Jr., Jack Fisher
4. Swagger Stick, J. Petty, Mrs. S.K. Johnston Jr., Jack Fisher
5. Cradle Will Rock, D. Hodsdon, Jonathan Sheppard, Jonathan Sheppard
6. Isti Bee (NZ), P. Young, Magalen O. Bryant, Doug Fout
Each carries 158 pounds.