Updated on 09/17/2011 5:49PM

McDynamo defends his title

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Far Hills Race Course
McDynamo wins a second straight Breeders' Cup Steeplechase at the Far Hills Races on Saturday.

FAR HILLS, N.J. - Showing the heart of a champion, McDynamo returned from an 11-month layoff to win a second straight Breeders' Cup Steeplechase at the Far Hills Races.

He joins Highland Bud and Morley Street as the only two-time winners of the race.

A 7-year-old gelding, McDynamo prevailed by 1 1/2 lengths over Hirapour in the Grade 1, $175,000 race, the richest in steeplechasing. Sur La Tete was third. The time was 5:06.80 for the 2 5/8 miles over 14 National Fences.

The latest Breeders' Cup victory by McDynamo was, in many respects, more satisfying than last year. He was expected to win in 2003 and did not disappoint, scoring a 15 1/4-length victory that clinched the Eclipse Award for him as champion jumper.

The odds were longer this time, though, as McDynamo, sidelined by a fracture below the right hock that required surgery at the end of last season, had to overcome the layoff and a superior field.

"He's certainly the best horse I've been around," said trainer Sanna Hendriks. "That was a serious field of horses. I thought if he was going to get beat, it was today, coming off the layoff."

McDynamo won his ninth jump race and extended his winning streak to six. The race marked the fourth straight year he won at the annual one-day race meet, which does not offer wagering.

The race began with Tres Touche boldly setting the pace. Flat Top, the 11-year-old former champion who was making his first start in two years, was the stalker.

McDynamo was away midpack in the seven-horse field and advanced into third at the fifth fence.

Jockey Craig Thornton bided his time until the final circuit down the backstretch. Thornton turned McDynamo loose at the 12th fence, and McDynamo quickly took command.

"I just let out a notch to give my arms a rest," said Thornton. "He was dragging me the whole way."

Hirapour made a determined run on the final turn, but McDynamo fended off the bid under a vigorous ride by Thornton.

Flat Top held his ground through 10 fences before giving way. He was pulled up.