• McDynamo leaped into the championship picture of 2003 with a 7 1/2-length triumph in the richest steeplechase stakes of the spring season, Keeneland’s $159,625 Royal Chase-NSA1. Owned by Michael Moran and trained by Sanna Hendriks, McDynamo was facing open stakes company for the first time, and defeated Grade 1 winners Al Skywalker, Praise the Prince (NZ), All Gong (GB), Quel Senor (Fr) and Anofferucantrefuse.
“I thought if he would relax early he would be pretty darn tough to beat,” said Hendriks. “He’s really matured a lot from last year. He’s all grown up.” The 6-year-old son of Dynaformer had a hurdle record of six wins from eight starts, and earnings of $310,179.
• Mid-Atlantic track regular Sonny Hine, “a steady winner over the 52 years that he trained,” wrote Bill Finley, became a Hall of Famer. “Sonny Hine had been eligible for the Hall of Fame for a long time, too long some of his many friends and admirers thought,” noted Finley.
The horse most responsible for putting him among the elite was his wife Carolyn’s multimillionaire and Horse of the Year Skip Away. At the time of the announcement, Carolyn said of her husband, “He wanted the accolades for his horses and for me, because he thought I had sacrificed a lot.” Hine had died in 2000 at the age of 69.
• Pennsylvania-bred filly Russian Rhythm became an English classic winner by taking the One Thousand Guineas-G1. The daughter of Kingmambo, bred by Betty Moran’s Brushwood Stable, outfinished highly acclaimed favorite, French-based Six Perfections, by 1 1/2 lengths for owner Cheveley Park Stud, which purchased her as a yearling at the Tattersalls Houghton sale for the U.S. equivalent of $678,770. Brushwood sold her as a weanling at Keeneland for $370,000. The filly, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, was out of the Nijinsky II mare Balistroika.
n Sixteen-year-old student Chris Gracie took over for injured Joe Davies and guided Move Up Stable’s Swayo to his second Maryland Hunt Cup victory in four years. Swayo, a 12-year-old chestnut son of Foligno bred in Pennsylvania by Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, won by a length over Wood Whistle. It was trainer Ann Stewart’s third Hunt Cup win, having also sent out Ivory Poacher 10 years earlier.
• The Thoroughbred was made the official state horse of Maryland. Pat Connolly’s fourth grade at St. Pius X Regional School in Bowie was instrumental in the “lobbying efforts.”
“We were studying Maryland government, when one of the moms (Cathy Flaherty) came up with the idea,” explained Connolly, who said there were no Thoroughbred owners or breeders among the parents. “For us, it was an opportunity to give the students first-hand experience with the governmental process. And they had a lot of fun doing it.” Among those who gave their support to the bill (Senate Bill 43) were the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, and Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand.