Michael Moran's McDynamo earned an unprecedented third consecutive victory in North America's richest steeplechase, the $200,000 Breeders' Cup Steeplechase (NSA-I) at a rainy Far Hills Races in New Jersey.
In the process, the 8-year-old son of Dynaformer
halted a five-race losing streak and leaped into the race for the 2005 Eclipse Award as champion steeplechaser.
Trained in Pennsylvania by Sanna Hendriks, McDynamo took advantage of the scratch of likely pacesetter Preemptive Strike and rolled right to the front in the 2 5/8-mile race over 14 fences.
Ridden for the first time in a race by Jody Petty, McDynamo controlled the pace while jumping fluidly in the soft turf. Petty let McDynamo accelerate on the final run down the backstretch and the 8-year-old Kentucky-bred powered into the stretch with a clear lead. He won by nine lengths over the late-running Three Carat (Danielle Hodsdon). Hirapour (Matt McCarron) settled for third. The final time was a slow 5:46 3/5 due mainly to the turf conditions, softened by a steady rain much of the day.
McDynamo earned $110,000 for the win and reached the the third spot on the career National Steeplechase Association earnings list with $743,104 lifetime over fences. Bred by Nathan Fox, Richard Fox and Richard Kaster, the Keeneland Sales yearling purchase also won for the fifth consecutive time at Far Hills. The grade I triple moved McDynamo ahead of two-time race winners Highland Bud and Morley Street in the race's 14 runnings.
Hendriks and Petty crafted the plan to set the pace.
"McDyanmo loves soft turf and I was worried that if there wasn't a legitimate pace in the race that Hirapour would out-kick us," said Hendriks. "If it was going to be the two of us, which it looked like it was on paper, I wanted to make sure Jody made the most of our gallop and he did that."
Uncharacteristically, 2003 Eclipse winner McDynamo came into the Breeders' Cup as an underdog thanks to four losses this year in as many starts. Hirapour, the 2004 Eclipse winner, beat McDynamo at Keeneland in April and added the New York Turf Writers Cup (NSA-I) at Saratoga to head to Far Hills as the title leader. McDynamo's win makes the Nov. 26 Colonial Cup (NSA-I) the deciding race.
Moran spent $80,000 to buy McDynamo at Keeneland as a yearling in 1998 and has been rewarded nearly 10-fold as his horse improved his steeplechase mark to 10 wins in 17 starts.
Hendriks and Petty also teamed up to win Saturday's Foxbrook Novice Hurdle (NSA-I) with Augustin Stable's Move West on the day.