Updated on 09/18/2011 1:11AM

McDynamo aces his BC audition


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - McDynamo tuned up for the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase with an easy win in the $75,000 Somerset Medical Center Stakes on Friday, opening night at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

McDynamo, 9, needed a solid prep after making only one start this season. The winner of the Breeders' Cup the last three years served notice he remains the horse to beat in the big one on Oct. 28 at Far Hills, N.J.

McDynamo ($5.40) was a comfortable second throughout the Somerset Medical as Swoop and Soar set the pace in the 2 1/2-mile race over 10 National fences. McDynamo took charge entering the final turn and smoothly cleared the final hurdle en route to a 6 1/4-length win with Jody Petty aboard.

"He sat just off the lead and was very patient," Petty said. "He waited on me to call on him. When I did, there was plenty left in the tank."

There was concern in the McDynamo camp after he pulled up in the Grade 1 Royal Chase at Keeneland in April. He later developed a fever and a foot abscess which wiped out the rest of his season.

After this solid win, trainer Sanna Hendriks said the two-time Eclipse Award winner won't need much work between now and the Breeders' Cup.

"We probably won't do a whole lot with him," Hendriks said. "I could see when he was walking around the paddock that he had a really bright-eyed look. We'll just try to keep him happy. We'll take him out fox hunting and we'll probably give him one maintenance breeze."

Mixed Up, winner of the Grade 1 New York Turf Writers Handicap at Saratoga, was second, followed by Lone Arrow, Swoop and Soar, and Feeling So Pretty.

Toughkenamon fell over the final fence. The horse ran off, apparently suffering no serious injury. Jockey Robert Walsh walked off the course.

The time was 4:28.55 over the firm course.

*After suffering loses by a head and a neck in his two previous races, Old Forester finally had a photo go his way in the Grade 3, $150,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes on the turf. The 5-year-old trained by Bill Mott got up by a nose over Tune of the Sprit, the longest shot in the race at 40-1 who almost stole it on the front end.

With Edgar Prado aboard, Old Forester ($4.20) ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.54. Crown Point was third.

* The meet got off to a fumbling start when the first race was declared "no contest" after the starting gate malfunctioned. All bets were refunded. The backup gate was wheeled into position for the second race.