08/07/2013 6:10PM

Hall of Fame profile: McDynamo

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Far Hills Race Course
McDynamo excelled in the steeplechase division during the mid-2000s, winning three championships.

One could easily argue that McDynamo was the best steeplechaser of the millennium’s first decade, and the numbers would back it up.

After two modest seasons on the flat, the son of Dynaformer was switched to the jumps in late 2001 by owner and trainer Michael Moran.

McDynamo competed in one steeplechase race that year, winning a maiden special weight race at Far Hills in New Jersey. That effort came under the supervision of new jumps trainer and former jockey Sanna Neilson Hendriks, as Moran set his charge on a new career path. In hindsight, he created a monster.

The following year, McDynamo began a string of six straight Eclipse Award-nominated campaigns, receiving champion steeplechaser honors in 2003, 2005, and 2006. He was a finalist every year from 2002 to 2007 and won at least one Grade 1 steeplechase race in each of those seasons.

The only thing that ended McDynamo’s streak of Eclipse nominations was his retirement at age 10, at which point he had recorded 17 wins in 34 combined flat and jump races for earnings of $1,354,994.

When scaled back to only his steeplechase efforts, McDynamo won 15 of 25 starts, with earnings of $1,310,104. He retired as North America’s all-time leading earner in steeplechase races.

McDynamo won 13 graded steeplechase stakes races, including 11 in Grade 1 competition. His most lucrative victory came in 2007 in the Grade 1 Grand National Hurdle Stakes at Far Hills, his fifth consecutive victory in the marquee race, which had grown to a $300,000 purse by the time he won it for the last time.

The gelding also won editions of the Grade 1 Colonial Cup Hurdle Stakes in each of his three Eclipse-winning campaigns.

During his ontrack career, McDynamo often was employed by Hendriks as a foxhunter and as a pony horse for other runners in point-to-point races as a method to keep the champion gelding sharp between races. In his retirement, McDynamo resides at Moran’s Applestone Farm in Unionville, Pa.

Bred in Kentucky by Richard Fox, Nathan Fox, and Richard Kaster, McDynamo is out of the unraced Monteverdi mare Rondonia, who produced six winners from 11 foals to race, including Old Chapel, a Grade 3 winner on the flat. Moran purchased McDynamo for $82,000 at the 1998 Keeneland September yearling sale.

McDynamo joins Ben Nevis II, Lonesome Glory, Zaccio, Cafe Prince, Oedipus, Jay Trump, Battleship, Bushranger, Neji, Flatterer, Fairmount, L’Escargot, Bon Nouvel, Good and Plenty, Elkridge, and Jolly Roger among steeplechasers in the Hall of Fame. He is being inducted with fellow steeplechaser Tuscalee.

Pedigree: 1997, b. g., by Dynaformer—Rondonia, by Monteverdi
Breeders: Richard Fox, Nathan Fox, and Richard Kaster (Ky.)
Owner: Michael Moran
Trainers: Sanna Neilson Hendriks; Michael Moran (first nine starts)
Race record: 34-17-6-1, $1,354,994
Championships: Steeplechaser (2003, 2005, 2006)
Stakes wins: Grand National Hurdle S. (five times), Royal Chase for the Sport of Kings Hurdle S., Colonial Cup Hurdle S. (three times), Hard Scuffle Hurdle S., U.S. Championship Supreme Hurdle S., Foxbrook Supreme Hurdle S., Somerset Medical Center Race for Cancer Awareness Hurdle S.