McDynamo Tops Meadowlands 'Chase Event

(from National Steeplechase Association)
Michael Moran's McDynamo, winner of the last two runnings of the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase (NSA-I), heads a field of eight entered in a rare steeplechase at the Meadowlands Saturday night.

The $75,000 Somerset Medical Center Steeplechase (NSA-II) for cancer awareness attracted several Breeders' Cup Steeplechase contenders, chief among them the 2003 Eclipse Award winner McDynamo. Trained in Pennsylvania by Sanna Hendriks, McDynamo will carry high weight of 158 pounds including jockey Rob Massey. The 8-year-old son of Dynaformer seeks his first win of 2005, but still rates a solid favorite in the 2 1/2-mile event over 10 fences.

The Meadowlands hosted its only jump race in 1980.

The race is sponsored by Somerset Medical Center, the beneficiary of New Jersey's Far Hills Races, and is a key prep for the $200,000 Breeders' Cup Steeplechase at that meet. Last year, Monmouth Park hosted a similar Breeders' Cup prep but, due to turf course maintenance, the race was shifted to the Meadowlands.

Somerset has received more than $15 million in contributions from Far Hills over the years, and helped pay back some of that commitment by sponsoring the Meadowlands race to raise awareness for the hospital's new cancer center. "They recognized the need for the race and they stepped up," said Guy Torsilieri, the NSA vice president and the co-chairman of the Far Hills Races. "It's about cancer awareness, and they are excited about getting involved in sponsoring the race."

On the track, McDynamo tries to jump back into the 2005 Eclipse Award picture with a win following two seconds and a third (all in top company) this year.

The favorite will get plenty of early pace at which to run, thanks to the inclusion of Preemptive Strike in the field. Owned by Polaris Stable and trained in Pennsylvania by Paul Rowland, the front-running chestnut won a grade II stakes this spring and finished second in the Colonial Cup (NSA-I) last fall. The 7-year-old son of Nepal missed the summer season with pneumonia and hasn't raced since April.

"He as good as he's ever been," said Rowland, who had his horse jump four fences as a final tune-up Thursday. "I can tell just by the way he's acting. He's eating every little oats and wants to train. He's eager to go to work. McDynamo will be plenty tough, though."

Others of note in the field include Three Carat, second to Hirapour in the New York Turf Writers (NSA-I) at Saratoga, and talented imports Bow Strada and Numitas.

$75,000 Metcalf Memorial Hurdle Stakes (NSA-II, Race 3, 5:17 p.m.), 4 & up, 2 1/2 miles (turf)
PP. Trainer, Jockey, Weight
1. Raise A Storm, Kathy McKenna, Jody Petty, 142
2. Bow Strada, Bruce Miller, Xavier Aizpuru, 146
3. Three Carat, Jonathan Sheppard, Danielle Hodsdon, 144
4. Najjm, Bruce Miller, Blair Waterman, 138
5. Numitas, Doug Fout, Zach Miller, 146
6. McDynamo, Sanna Hendriks, Rob Massey, 158
7. Erin Go Bragh, Doug Fout, Matt McCarron, 140
8. Preemptive Strike, Paul Rowland, Robbie Walsh, 152