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Divine Fortune opens defense of Eclipse with Nashville victory
McCarthy rides three winners in Music City
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DIVINE FORTUNE CHARGES TOWARD the finish line, with Willie McCarthy in tow, en route to winning Saturdays $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois, the first and only Grade I steeplechase of the National Steeplechase Associations 2014 spring campaign. - photo by Photo courtesy of Catherine French
Displaying the brilliant turn of foot that won him last year’s Eclipse Award, Bill Pape’s Divine Fortune set all the pace in the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) and danced away Saturday to a 3 1/4-length victory over Magalen O. Bryant’s Gustavian in the featured race of the 73rd annual Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville.Part-time Camden resident and Ireland native Willie McCarthy rode Divine Fortune and added to his lead in the jockey standings with his third victory on a pleasantly warm afternoon at Percy Warner Park. He previously had won that day’s $35,000 Bright Hour Stakes with Tempt Me Alex and the $25,000 George Sloan and John Sloan Sr. Sport of Kings maiden hurdle with Mystery Jack.Divine Fortune’s victory in his first 2014 start over fences atoned for a narrow defeat in last year’s Calvin Houghland Iroquois, in which Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative overtook Pape’s top runner and won by a neck.