Updated on 09/18/2011 2:33AM

McDynamo clinches championship


CAMDEN, S.C. - McDynamo clinched his third steeplechase Eclipse Award with a determined victory in the Grade 1, $150,000 Colonial Cup at Springdale Race Course Sunday.

The 9-year-old son of Dynaformer followed Mon Villez throughout, and challenged the leader at the top of the long stretch. Unexpectedly, Mon Villez fought back and pressed the favorite over the final quarter-mile. McDynamo summoned more, however, and won by a length over Mon Villez with Hirapour a half-length back in third. The winner covered the 2 3/4 miles and 17 fences in 5:16 1/5.

Trained by Sanna Hendriks and ridden by Jody Petty, McDynamo came into the race off a historic fourth consecutive win in the Breeders' Cup Grand National Oct. 28, but needed the Colonial Cup to ensure an Eclipse Award. The Kentucky-bred gelding left no doubt, sewing up the 2006 earnings title with $285,000, including the $90,000 Colonial Cup winner's check. Also the 2003 and 2005 champion, McDynamo is odds-on to become the seventh three-time steeplechase champion in history.

"He definitely had to work today, but that's what makes him the horse he is," said Petty. "When I needed it, he gave it to me. He was all out today and showed he wanted to win it more than anyone else."

McDynamo improved to 3-for-4 this year (including three consecutive wins), and 14-for-22 overall in steeplechase races. His career bankroll, an American steeplechase record, stands at $1,163,104.

"It was really nerve-wracking today," said Hendriks. "It looked to me like maybe the Breeders' Cup took more out of him than I saw, but he had great jumps down the backside and did that on pure guts. You don't know if they're going to have that until they need it, and he found a lot extra. It's pretty special to be associated with him. He's got that unbelievable determination to win. To keep coming up with performances like that is something."

Also the Colonial Cup winner in 2003 and 2005, McDynamo ended a remarkable rivalry with Hirapour with four wins and two losses in six starts against Hirapour. The latter, champion in 2004, pulled up lame despite losing by just 1 1/2 lengths and will likely be retired by Eldon Farm and trainer Doug Fout.

* The Colonial Cup meet ended the 2006 steeplechase season with individual awards going to Jonathan Sheppard (champion trainer with 26 wins to 22 for Hendriks); Danielle Hodsdon (champion jockey with 21 wins); and Kinross Farm (champion owner with $376,975).