The word “great” is thrown about rather loose these days. This horse is great, this jockey, this trainer, this track, this race … you get the picture. We attached the word to champion steeplechaser McDynamo in a headline announcing his passing and there’s nothing loose about it.
McDynamo, who euthanized with arthritis and other maladies of age at age 22 Dec. 1, embodied great. He won three Eclipse Awards, earned a record $1,310,104 over jumps and reached Thoroughbred racing’s Hall of Fame. Joe Clancy wrote about his passing Dec. 10, talked with Sanna Neilson about the legendary son of Dynaformer and put his career in perspective.
The faithful readers of our website responded, making Joe’s piece “Steeplechase great McDynamo dies at 22” the most read story of 2019. Simply put, the story celebrates the life of the legend.
“Racing for Michael and Anne Moran, McDynamo ruled the 2000s the way five-time champion Lonesome Glory lorded over the 1990s,” Joe wrote. “The bay gelding retired after the 2007 season to a life of foxhunting and babysitting on Neilson’s farm in Chester County, Pa. He died at 22 Dec. 1, humanely euthanized with arthritis and other maladies of age. Neilson made the call, after plenty of thought.”
Neilson went on to say that “nothing in particular happened,” but that McDynamo had a stifle that bothered him, “and it was just arthritic and whatever and there was nothing to do to it.
“It got harder to keep weight on him, he never did well in the wintertime,” Neilson said. “He looked a little unsteady behind to me and he wasn’t going to get any better. He was happy and comfortable and everything. I was nervous with the weather coming in – he’d have a hard time on frozen ground – and it felt like the right thing to do.”
Neilson made the call, because, as Joe wrote “horse trainers take care of horses, even at the end.”
“McDynamo was the best horse Neilson ever trained,” Joe wrote. “He’d be in the top five horses anybody ever trained. He was only 22, getting old for a Thoroughbred but still young for a retiree. He was also a fixture, the horse Neilson would see every day, the one she counted on seeing.”
The story appeared Dec. 10 and is No. 1 on the TIHR Top 10 for 2019.
Check out the complete TIHR Top 10 for 2019:
No. 7: Wicklow Brave
No. 3: Paddy Neilson
No. 2: The Whip