Bill Pape’s Divine Fortune launched his 2012 racing season with a powerful charge that carried him to a 5 3/4-length victory in the $25,000 Glassy Mountain Farm Block House, the feature race of the 66th annual Block House Races in Tryon, N.C., on Saturday, April 21.
Ridden by Brian Crowley, Divine Fortune followed the early pace of Marilyn S. Ketts’ Flight Movie, with owner-trainer Karen Gray’s Cuse tracking the leader in second. Crowley turned Divine Fortune loose on the final turn, and he and Cuse jumped the final fence together. Divine Fortune drew away through the stretch to a convincing victory in 4:45.60. Cuse, ridden by apprentice jockey Gus Dahl, finished second, and Flight Movie was third.
Trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, Divine Fortune won Saratoga Race Course’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 2) the past two years and finished a good second in the 2011 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup at the end of the National Steeplechase Association season. Bred by Pape and Sheppard, the Royal Anthem gelding was voted the Pennsylvania-bred champion steeplechase horse last year.