Edited press release
Two-time steeplechase champion McDynamo and multiple grade I winner Sur La Tete are among 11 Thoroughbreds nominated the 2 1/2 mile $150,000 Royal Chase (NSA-I) at Keeneland April 21.
Michael Moran's McDynamo won the race en route to his first Eclipse Award in 2003 and finished third behind Hirapour and Sur La Tete last year. McDynamo, by Dynaformer
, closed the year with back-to-back grade I wins to claim a second Eclipse Award.
Kinross Farm's Sur La Tete beat McDynamo twice last year, but has not raced over jumps in nearly a year. The 8-year-old son of Sky Classic
finished second in the 2005 Royal Chase and then beat McDynamo again in the Iroquois (NSA-I). Trained in Virginia by Neil Morris, Sur La Tete missed the 2005 fall season with a foot injury.
McDynamo is the 166-pound highweight assignment, and Sur La Tete checks in with 158. The next-highest weighted nominee is Erin Go Bragh at 148.
The horses have already been on the race course together this year, finishing 1-2 in a training flat race at the Carolina Cup meet in Camden, S.C., April 1. McDynamo won that 1 1/2-mile tuneup, but both horses looked impressive.
"I was really happy with the way he ran," said McDynamo's trainer Sanna Hendriks. "Mentally I think it helps. He's coming off two huge races last year, and it's probably nice to come back and have a little win. He doesn't care that it's a flat race or whatever. He just knows that he won. Sur La Tete will be tough because he's going to improve off that flat run, and he hadn't run in awhile. He beat us twice last year."
The nominations (with owner, trainer and weight assignment): Capital Peak (Augustin Stable, Sanna Hendriks, 134); Class Sprite (Mede Cahaba Stable, Lilith Boucher, 134), Erin Go Bragh (Brigadoon Stable, Doug Fout, 148), Feeling So Pretty (Lee McKinney, McKinney, 135); Free Admission (Bill Pape, Jonathan Sheppard, 138), Mauritania (Whitewood Stable, Richard Valentine, 138), McDynamo (Michael Moran, Sanna Hendriks, 166), Mon Villez (Calvin Houghland, Bruce Miller, 148), Sur La Tete (Kinross Farm, Neil Morris, 158), Sweeps Week (Augustin Stable, Sanna Hendriks, 138), Swoop And Soar (Otto Stolz, Ricky Hendriks, 136).
Entries close April 17.