Preakness' Dynamic Impact has Minnesota connection

A mother and son watch proudly as Dynamic Impact hits the big time.

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Preakness Stakes entrant Dynamic Impact gallops under exercise rider Marco Cano at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Thursday, May 15, 2014. The 139th Preakness is Saturday, May 17. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

Photo: Garry Jones, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

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It looked like a superb match to racehorse breeder Adam Corndorf. His family’s mare Featherbed had flashed tremendous speed in her brief racing career; the stallion Tiznow, a two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, was famous for his stamina and toughness.

When Corndorf saw the foal they produced in 2011, he thought he had hit the genetic jackpot. But the Minnesota native wasn’t certain until the colt, Dynamic Impact, ran down Midnight Hawk in the stretch to win a thrilling Illinois Derby last month.

“I couldn’t believe it,’’ Corndorf said. “He had incredible heart and tenacity. He just looked the other horse in the eye and wasn’t going to lose.’’

That victory earned Dynamic Impact something even more stunning: a place in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes. The 3-year-old colt was bred by Corndorf and his mother, Bonnie Baskin of Edina, and was born at their Blue Heaven Farm in Versailles, Ky.

Baskin and Corndorf, who runs the family’s breeding and racing operation, sell most of the horses produced by their band of 15 broodmares. Though Dynamic Impact left their farm as a yearling, they follow him closely and are overjoyed at his success. The horse is 12-1 on the morning line and will start from the rail position in the Preakness field of 10.

“As a commercial breeder, this is what you hope for and work for,’’ said Baskin, a biotechnology entrepreneur who has been in the horse business since 1998. “It’s really exciting.’’

Blue Heaven Farm has only a handful of horses on the track this year, including the filly Sweet Tango, who is trained by Mac Robertson and will race at Shakopee’s Canterbury Park this summer. It typically produces about 12 foals per year that are consigned to Kentucky’s yearling sales. Several of the family’s former race mares are now in its broodmare band, including Canterbury hall of famer Glitter Star.

Corndorf, a graduate of Hopkins High, practiced law in New York City before moving to bluegrass country to run the farm. Dynamic Impact is the first horse bred or owned by his family to enter a Triple Crown race.

Featherbed’s raw speed as a 2-year-old made her a candidate to run in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies until an injury spoiled those plans. Dynamic Impact, her second foal, was a smart and athletic baby. Trainer Mark Casse bought him for $125,000 as a yearling; in his first four races, he twice finished second, then got his first victory in March at Oaklawn Park.

Dynamic Impact came from behind in that race, just as he did in the Illinois Derby seven weeks later. Corndorf was on the edge of his seat as he watched the race on TV that day. Saturday, he and his mother will be viewing the Preakness the same way.

“The first thing I do every morning is Google ‘Preakness’ and ‘Dynamic Impact’ and read the stories about him,’’ Corndorf said. “It’s rare for us to have this opportunity, and we’re really enjoying the moment. You feel like your hard work has been rewarded.’’

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