Dynever Dynamite in $500,000 Lone Star Derby; Belmont Stakes is Next

(May 10, 2003) - Lightly-raced Dynever collected his third straight win with an impressive 1 1/2-length victory over graded stakes winner Most Feared in Saturday’s Grade III, $500,000 Lone Star Derby at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. Both the winner and runner-up could make their next starts in the June 7 Belmont Stakes, according to their trainers.

Ridden by Edgar Prado and toting 122 pounds, Dynever defeated a dozen rivals in front of 9,512 fans and ran 1 1/8 miles on a “fast” main track in 1:50.43. The Kentucky-bred paid $2.60 to win as the heavy 1-5 betting choice and became the first favorite to win the Lone Star Derby in seven runnings of the race.

“It looks like he has another gear, really,” said Arnaud Delacour, assistant to trainer Christophe Clement, who was unable to attend the race at late notice. “He just appears to be racing with the other horses and then he puts in another gear. It was very impressive.”

Dynever, who arrived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area Wednesday from his New York base, earned $277,500 for the win and boosted his career earnings to $454,020. It was the March foal’s third win in four career starts.

At the head of the stretch, it looked as if odds-on favorite Dynever was beat. Trapped behind two rivals with horses to his left and right, Prado wasn’t able to ask the Dynaformer colt for his best run until the final eighth of a mile when an opening appeared. Dynever split rivals, swung wide and quickly accelerated to display his patented late closing kick to draw clear.

“I was kind of concerned about a couple of horses backing up in front of me around the quarter pole,” explained Prado, who was crowned the winner of the 2000 NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship at Lone Star Park. “What I did was sit and wait. I knew I was on the best horse in the race. I waited some time just to find a hole and let him roll, and you saw what he did when we found that hole.

“This is a nice horse. He’s been improving since the first time he ran. He’s been showing a lot of courage and a lot of determination and today you saw it. Nothing was going to stop him. He was behind a wall of horses and he got through and just kept on going.”

“It was great,” echoed Delacour. “The horse ran awesome for what [Prado] asked him to do.”

Prior to the Lone Star Derby, Dynever was a 3 ½-length winner in the $250,000 Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream Park on April 6 over eventual Kentucky Derby 13th Supah Blitz. His career began Feb. 8 at Gulfstream Park in a maiden special weight which resulted in a second to Nacheezmo. Dynever promptly benefited from that outing and won his first race on March 8 at the South Florida racetrack by an eye-catching 8 ¼ lengths.

Runner-up Most Feared, the 18-1 fifth choice in the wagering, finished one length ahead of third-place finisher Commander’s Affair, who help set a pace of :23.41, :47.43, 1:11.77 and 1:37.70 at odds of 44-1.

“I thought we had them,” said Ronny Werner, trainer of Most Feared. “Everything went perfect. [Jockey] Shane [Sellers] did an excellent job. We’re back on track. We changed a few things up on him and it seemed to help. Who knows what’s next? Maybe the Belmont. We’ll see how he comes out and maybe give it a whirl.”

Crowned King, Mr. Technique, 9-1 second choice Defrere’s Vixen, Crowned Dancer, On The Border, Mauk Four, Grendel, Leo’s Last Hurrahy and Gentlemen J J completed the order of finish. Desert Spirit, who never left his barn at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., was scratched.

Dynever is owned by Catherine Wills and Peter Karches, the former president and COO of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Institutional Securities and Investments Banking Group. Wills, a London resident, also bred the colt. In addition, Clement trained Dynever’s dam Flamboyance for Wills. The mare won twice in six U.S. starts after an eight-race campaign in Europe which provided one victory.

“We are all very happy,” Clement said via telephone from New York. “I’m especially happy for the owners Mrs. Catherine Wills – she’s also the breeder – and Mr. Peter Karches, who couldn’t make it to Texas today, but he was watching the race on T.V. It was a great breeding job. I supposed we’re still on track for the Belmont.”

Horses not based at Lone Star Park have dominated the Lone Star Derby. Only T.B. Track Star, the 1999 upset winner at odds of 31-1, has defended the home turf. Previous winners include California-based Anet (1997), Florida-based Tahkodha Hills (2000) and Kentucky-based horses Smolderin Heart (1998), Percy Hope (2001) and Wiseman’s Ferry (2001).

Dynever will be flown back to New York on Tuesday morning for an attempt to become the first Lone Star Derby winner to win the Belmont Stakes. Tahkodha Hills and Wiseman’s Ferry each finished ninth in the 1 ½-mile classic.

“I think this horse has a lot of potential and he handled this one very well,” said Prado, also the regular rider of Kentucky Derby third Peace Rules, who is scheduled to run in next Saturday’s Preakness Stakes.

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