Edited press release
Two-time steeplechase champion McDynamo tops the nominations for the $75,000 Somerset Medical Center Stakes (NAS-II) at the Meadowlands Sept. 29.
The only jump race carded at the New Jersey track, the 2 1/2-mile Somerset serves as the final major prep for the Breeders' Cup Grand National (NSA-I) Oct. 28 at Far Hills, N.J. The latter, worth $250,000, is the richest race in American jump racing.
Owned by Michael Moran and trained in Pennsylvania by Sanna Hendriks, McDynamo started just once this year and was pulled up as the favorite in the Royal Chase at Keeneland (NSA-I) April 21. Shipping fever derailed the 9-year-old's next scheduled start, the Iroquois (NSA-I). In 2005, the son of Dynaformer lost his first four starts, including a second in the Somerset, but won the Breeders' Cup and the Colonial Cup to claim the Eclipse Award.
"We're starting over so we'll have to see what the fall may bring," said Hendriks. "I know he ran badly at Keeneland. I don't have an explanation as to why. He's thrown in one other clunker in his career (the 2004 Colonial Cup). I have no reason to think he's not the same horse that he has been."
McDynamo, second on American steeplechasing's career earnings list, could face a strong field in the Somerset as recent grade I winner Mixed Up is also among the nominations. Owned by Bill Pape and trained by Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard, the 7-year-old won the New York Turf Writers Cup (NSA-I) at Saratoga and has two other stakes wins on his record this year.
Others nominated to the race include: Praise the Prince, Feeling So Pretty, Lone Arrow, Chivite, Swoop And Soar, and Toughkenamon.
Entries for the handicap close Sept. 26.