Bill Pape’s Divine Fortune, dominant winner of the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) at the Far Hills Races, was honored Saturday evening with the 2013 Eclipse Award as Thoroughbred racing’s champion steeplechase horse.
In a highly competitive year in American Steeplechasing’s championship division, Divine Fortune also finished second in the spring season’s richest race, the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) at the Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville. In November, Divine Fortune received the National Steeplechase Association’s Lonesome Glory Champions Award as the year’s leading earner with $207,000. Pape also was honored as the year’s champion owner.
In the Eclipse Awards balloting by members of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, and Daily Racing Form staff, Divine Fortune was a runaway winner, with 112 first-place votes to 27 for Jonathan Sheppard’s Italian Wedding and 25 for Magalen O. Bryant’s Gustavian.
Divine Fortune was Pape’s fifth individual Eclipse winner either as sole owner or co-owner. Preceding Divine Fortune were Athenian Idol (1973), Martie’s Anger (1979), Hall of Fame member Flatterer (1983-1986), and Mixed Up (2009). All of his champions have been developed by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, who has trained 10 individuals to a total of 14 Eclipse Awards. Sheppard accepted the Eclipse Award at the Gulfstream Park ceremony from Lonny Powell, chief executive of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association.