Bill Pape’s Divine Fortune, a multiple graded stakes winner, launches his 2012 season in the $25,000 Glassy Mountain Farm Block House, feature race of the 66th annual Block House Races in Tryon, N.C. on Saturday, April 21. First post time for the four-race program is 2 p.m.
Trained by Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, Divine Fortune will begin his new season in a challenging spot in the 2 1/2-mile Block House against three challengers who already have won this year. Divine Fortune is the standout of the field with victories in the A. P. Smithwick (Gr. 2) at Saratoga Race Course the past two years.
The nine-year-old Royal Academy gelding also finished second in last fall’s $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Bred by Sheppard and Pape, Divine Fortune was the Pennsylvania-bred steeplechase champion in 2011. Brian Crowley will ride.
Trainer Lilith Boucher entered two 2012 winners, Marilyn S. Ketts’ Flight Movie and Mede Cahaba Stable’s Class Brahms. Undefeated in two starts over hurdles, Flight Movie kicked off the season with a 7 1/2-length victory in the $25,000 Celebrate Aiken allowance race at the Aiken Spring Races in South Carolina on March 24.
Class Brahms, a four-year-old Mede Cahaba homebred, began his new season with an 8 3/4-length score in the $10,000 CenturyLink Hurdle claiming race at the Stoneybrook Steeplechase in Raeford, N.C., on April 7.
Stoneybrook’s feature race, the $20,000 Sandhills Cup, was won by owner-trainer Karen M. Gray’s Cuse, who will be seeking his second 2012 victory in the Block House. The veteran campaigner set the Sandhills Cup’s pace and won by a half-length. Gus Dahl again has the riding assignment on Cuse.
Completing the field is Meritage Racing’s Inti, a Uruguay-bred who has shown racing talent over fences. Trained by Cyril Murphy, Inti won his maiden victory at the International Gold Cup in Virginia last October and then was a good second in the Montpelier Cup optional allowance hurdle. Roddy Mackenzie will be in the saddle.