CAMDEN, S.C. - Three-time American steeplechase champion McDynamo did not go out a winner yesterday, but he did get to go out in one piece - and that's what his owner and trainer took solace in when they announced his retirement at Springdale Race Course.
Sixth behind winner Good Night Shirt in the $150,000 Colonial Cup, a Grade I event, McDynamo exits the sport as one of the greatest steeplechase horses with a record $1.3 million in career earnings, championships in 2003, 2005 and 2006, and 15 lifetime victories from 25 starts over jumps. Owned by Michael Moran of Unionville and trained in Cochranville, Chester County, by Sanna Hendriks, McDynamo won three national championships and five consecutive runnings of the Breeders' Cup Grand National Steeplechase.
"I'm happy to retire him, and proud to own him," Moran said. "There were so many years where we felt that degree of confidence because he's so good, but now as he's gotten older, it's not that you're not confident in the horse, but you're not confident in the decision you're making. It would be greedy to ask him to do more. He's been so good to everybody that I wouldn't want anything to happen to him."
Good Night Shirt won two of their three meetings this year and is assured the 2007 Eclipse Award as champion steeplechaser. Owned by Virginian Sonny Via and trained in Maryland by Jack Fisher, the 6-year-old took the lead after about a half-mile and shook off several challenges to win by 21/4 lengths over Three Carat with Sovereign Duty third. The winner, ridden by Willie Dowling, covered the 23/4 miles and 17 fences in 5 minutes, 19 seconds.
Ridden by Jody Petty, McDynamo tracked Good Night Shirt throughout and was still second in the stretch, but faded late.
Purchased as a yearling at Keeneland, McDynamo moves on to life in retirement at Moran's Applestone Farm in Unionville, Chester County.
"He gets to be a foxhunter and that's great," Moran said. "He's a very intelligent horse, very perceptive, and it feels great to give him something he deserves. It's been a privilege."
Chester Drivers Challenge. Tony Morgan won two races and was second in two others to earn first prize of $15,000 in the inaugural Harrah's Chester Drivers Challenge yesterday. George Brennan was second, followed by Tim Tetrick, Brian Sears, Cat Manzi, Yannick Gingras, David Miller and Ron Pierce.