Owned by Michael Moran and trained by Sanna Hendriks, the winner found an easy spot in second behind longshot Luongo early and took the lead for good on the final run down the backstretch. Heading into the final turn, second choice Good Night Shirt rallied and Best Attack cruised in behind that pair to threaten. But after powering around the turn, McDynamo, with Jody Petty aboard, built a daylight lead again and stormed through the stretch to win by six lengths.
Now 10 and winless in his only start this year, McDynamo came to Far Hills off workouts alone and a public training flat race Oct. 1. Hendriks used a five-furlong workout at Fair Hill Training Center last week as a final tightener, but still was concerned about her horse's readiness.
"I didn't come here anticipating the win, but I guess I was cautiously optimistic," Hendriks said. "I just didn't want to let him down and I didn't. He got here in great shape, on top of his game and he showed it. It's a pretty special win."
McDynamo won for the seventh consecutive time (including the five Breeders' Cups) over the Far Hills course. A sellout crowd of 50,000 attended the races, run for the 87th time, to benefit the Somerset Medical Center.
"When he walks out of the paddock here, he walks out like he's home. I don't know why, but I can feel it. He knows where he is, he knows what he's doing," said Petty. "I was keeping him in check early on and made him jump a couple short to stay in behind. On the backside, I told him we could go jump his way and he just pinged all three of those fences and ran away from them."
Petty, who won three on the day including the 100th of his career, felt the others range up leaving the backside but saw no challengers at the top of the stretch.
"I felt like I gave him a breather before the turn, just sort of let him work his way around there but the other horses never came to him," said the jockey. "I looked back before the last fence and they weren't getting there."
Sweet Shani, ridden by Xavier Aizpuru, rallied for second with Best Attack and Chip Miller third. Good Night Shirt finished fourth. The winner covered the 21 furlongs and 14 jumps in 5:30 3/5 while earning $180,000. The field contested at equal weights of 156 pounds except for the 7-year-old mare Sweet Shani, who received a six-pound break.
No other horse has won the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase more than twice, so McDynamo made history long ago. He's covered 13 1/8 miles and 70 fences in the race over the five years, and never finished behind another horse. He's won by as many as 22 lengths and as few as 1 1/2. The Kentucky-bred son of Dynaformer holds the record for career earnings by an American steeplechaser at $1,305,604 and has won 15 of 24 lifetime starts over jumps.
"He gives you chills riding him and people tell me he gives them chills when they're watching him," said Petty. "He's a horse of a lifetime, there's no denying that."
Champion steeplechaser in 2003, 2005 and 2006, McDynamo jumped back into the picture for 2007. He has split two meetings with Good Night Shirt, the 2007 earnings leader. They could meet again in the $150,000 Colonial Cup (NSA-I) at Camden, S.C., on Nov. 18.
In other action, Brigadoon Stable's Gliding (Matt McCarron) won the $100,000 Foxbrook novice stakes for trainer Doug Fout.
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