Mary Ann Houghland’s Pierre Lunaire, winner of back-to-back Grade 1 winners in the fall, was honored with the 2012 Eclipse Award as the year’s champion steeplechase horse on Saturday, Jan. 19. The award was presented at the annual Eclipse Awards Dinner at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla.
Accepting the Eclipse Award were the owner, trainer Blythe Miller Davies, and Bernie Dalton, who rode the War Chant gelding to his two 2012 victories. In accepting the Eclipse, Davies credited her father, Bruce Miller, who trained Pierrot Lunaire through the spring.
After finishing fifth in Colonial Downs’ David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3), his first start for his new trainer, Pierrot Lunaire won Belmont Park’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Stakes (Gr. 1) by a nose at odds of 48.75-1 on Sept. 27. Pierrot Lunaire returned in the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) at the Far Hills Races and again closed strongly to win by three-quarters of a length on Oct. 20.
From five starts in 2012, Pierrot Lunaire earned $253,000 and was awarded the Lonesome Glory Champions Award as the National Steeplechase Association’s leading earner.
Pierrot Lunaire outpolled Eclipse finalists Demonstrative and Divine Fortune to collect the year’s award. Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative also won two Grade 1 races, the New York Turf Writers Cup and the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup, and was fourth in the Grand National. Bill Pape’s Divine Fortune finished second in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1), the Grand National, and the Colonial Cup after winning the Block House in Tryon, N.C., in April.