Sunday, November 29, 2009

Japan Cup 2009 in the books

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(Vodka on right - chestnut Oken Bruce Lee on left from Reuters)

The year of the mare continues as the mare Vodka won the 2009 Japan Cup by a whisker over the fast closing Oken Bruce Lee who had to come from dead last at the top of the stretch in the eighteen horse field. What a finish as another filly Red Desire finished third. The five-year-old Vodka becomes the first Japanese female to top the $10 million mark in career earnings and will most likely retire. It's always exciting watching the Japan Cup in Japanese. The crowd at one point looks an American football crowd waving their little souvenirs. One of the owners of Vodka breaks down when the photo finally comes up (it took an eternity according to some). You will never be able to convince me this is not an emotional sport (in any language). Jockey Christophe Lemaire thought he had lost it at the wire but the photo proved otherwise. Vodka was not a descendant of the Dancer but Oken Bruce Lee and Red Desire were. I will leave their earnings for the race in Yen and let you do the conversion - staggering purses in Japan.

1) Vodka 293,000,000 yen
2) Oken Bruce Lee 106,000,000 yen Great Great Grandson (X3)
3) Red Desire 53,000,000 yen Great Great Granddaughter (X2)

Great Japanese HQ video of the race
http://www.videohighlights.net/29112009-japan-cup-2009-horse-racing/

My previous post about the Dancer's International Impact by classic race (before Japan Cup run)
http://northerndancerblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/lets-jump-ahead-to-today-nov-12-2009.html

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Dancer - Review

This is a quick review of the blog so far in terms of my original book published in 2008 but started in 2005. I wanted to put the chapters in their original order with links back to their position in the blog. The blog has just built on the original data from 2005 and I think continues to show the impact Northern Dancer has had on his sport. This year has been a good one to come in for a snapshot of the sport as we head into a new decade and to celebrate the anniversary of his death by revisiting Windfields Farm before it becomes another subdivision. From any of these links you can just keep hitting the newer links to get the 2009 perspective and home to get back here. You can always click on the blog archive on the bottom right of the blog which have the blog posts listed in the order they were posted.

Chapter 1
A New National Hero (May 2, 1964)
http://northerndancerblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/chapter-1.html

Chapter 2
Our Hero Has Become A Legend (Oct 29, 2005)
http://northerndancerblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/chapter-2.html

Chapter 3
Nijinsky (Sept 12, 1970)
http://northerndancerblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/chapter-3.html

Chapter 4
The Dancer's International Impact (Dec 31,2005)
http://northerndancerblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/chapter-4.html

Chapter 6
The Dancer's Place In History
http://northerndancerblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/chapter-6.html

Chapter 8
A Champion Becomes A Legend - Makybe Diva (Nov 1, 2005)
http://northerndancerblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/chapter-8.html

Chapter 9
Inaugural World Rankings (Nov 2005)
http://northerndancerblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/chapter-9_22.html

Chapter 39
A Sentimental Journey to Windfields Farm (Feb, 2006)
http://northerndancerblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/chapter-39.html

Monday, November 23, 2009

This year's special horse

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Sea the Stars winning le Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe

(photo from the Times - Boris Horvat)


In prepping for the posts surrounding my old chapter 9, I thought I would look for this year’s Makybe Diva type of story. In this year, which could have easily been described as the year of the filly and mare after the Breeders Cup, I didn’t have to look past the year’s world number one ranked thoroughbred for my story.

Sea the Stars did not cross the ocean to make one last start in the Breeders Cup. He retired to stud on a winning note after winning le prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on October 4, 2009. It was his eighth straight victory after finishing 4th in his maiden start as a two-year-old in 2008 and what a stretch of great victories in 2009. The 2000 Guineas followed by the Epsom Derby and the Eclipse Stakes then the Juddmonte International followed by the Irish Champion Stakes and finally the Arc. As if that list was not impressive enough it was the way he did it. I watched a few of these races as I researched the races themselves without putting together the big picture until now. Every one of these wins was dramatic and breathtaking. He has been described as “pure box-office, with a timing and delivery to match Hollywood's finest” and by some “one of the greatest thoroughbreds of all time”. You have to watch the videos linked here to understand this “super” star. His trademark is to come from behind and thread the needle with his ears pinned back to find a seam to attack the leaders and wear them down. He is amazing to watch and has become a fan favorite even in France.

He is the son of Cape Cross out of Green Desert out of Danzig so it could be another strong male line for our Dancer. There are some, saying his value could be in excess of $100 million as a stallion. But in this the year of the mare we may want to look at his dam, Urban Sea. Urban Sea won the Arc herself in 1993 (one of only 5 fillies to accomplish that feat). She is also one of only two mares to produce Epsom and Eclipse double winners. She was also the dam of Galileo, the other Epsom/Eclipse double winner and already a leading sire in Britain. Tragically, Urban Sea died this year giving birth to her last foal. The foal survived the birth.

The owner of Sea the Stars is the 27 year-old nightclub owner, with his trademark Ipod ear buds stuck in his ears, Christopher Tsui. His parents, the Hong Kong based, David and Ling Tsui wanted their son to get more involved in their racing business so he was installed as the owner of Sea the Stars. In one of his early assignments as owner, the young man passed out from excitement after his horse won the Eclipse stakes in July. He will not make the same mistake as his parents who sold their interest in half brother Galileo before he reached the track and now he looks like he could be the heir apparent to Sadler’s Wells as Britain’s top stallion. Tsui has turned down the offers from Sheikh Mohammed who will probably end up with a partial interest in the breeding rights of this latest superstar.

The trainer and jockey of Sea the Stars are just as interesting as those of Makybe Diva (or maybe even Seabiscuit). Veterinarian, John Oxx has trained in the shadow of Ballydoyle’s dynamic duo of Vincent and Aidan O’Brien (no relation) ever since he started training in 1979. In fact in this year’s Juddmonte International it was just a four-horse field with Sea the Stars and three Aidan O’Brien trained horses but John Oxx doesn’t have to take a back seat to anyone when it comes to his training record and it looks like Sea the Stars will “see” to that.

Jockey, Michael (Mick) Kinane was aboard Sea the Stars in all 9 of his starts. He has been Ireland’s leading jockey thirteen times. He has won the Epsom Derby three times as well as the 2000 Guineas, Melbourne Cup in Australia and the Belmont Stakes in the US. He may retire shortly and would certainly go out a winner after the season he had with Sea the Stars. Once again, you have to watch the videos to appreciate not only Sea the Stars but also the performances of Mick. Mick also bred the 2007 Epsom Derby winner and Northern Dancer great-grandson Authorized.

Despite the amazing performances of the mares this year it’s Sea the Stars who gets my vote as horse of the year in this the Chinese year of the Ox(x).

Great little tribute to Sea the Stars after the Arc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQCzwsr_-1k


1) Link to 2000 Guineas Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7hAEcSUBrM&feature=PlayList&p=1AC9956FF022DEF5&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=17

2) Link to the Epsom Derby Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0kSu_M0qEM

3) Link to the Eclipse Stakes Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7Ur9CVtQOA

4) Link to the Juddmonte International Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QZW0j4jOrU&feature=PlayList&p=00B0F241A735B846&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=5

5) Link to the Irish Champion Stakes Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6YSZ_eIfPY

6) Link to the Prix l'Arc de Triomphe Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f824CU-F3rc

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Latest World Rankings

Here are the latest world rankings from the International Federation of Horse Racing. Just as it was in 2005 - all but one of the top 30 are direct descendants of Northern Dancer. I added the lifetime earnings for each horse - they are approximate. Eighteen of the thirty are direct male descendants.



Link to World Rankings
http://www.horseracingintfed.com/resources/2009Rankings/2009_1108_WTR.asp

Chapter 9

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Inaugural World Rankings

Rewind to November 2005

Makybe Diva was ranked as the 10th best thoroughbred in the world in November 2005.

In 2005, the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities published their inaugural world rankings. The International Federation was officially formed in 1983 to protect the integrity of the sport and its breeding. The Federation’s roots went back to 1961 when the major international players met for the first time and now in 2005 they had developed a system to rank their best International performers. It’s shades of golf and its world rankings versus the PGA of America earnings, which used to be Golf’s primary standard for performance.

Like the sport of golf, thoroughbred racing owes a lot of its International success to the American development of the sport (despite having its roots in Europe) but also like golf, thoroughbred racing has become a “truly” International sport and the IFHA have done a great job in compiling statistics to rank the best thoroughbreds of 2005.

Here are the top thirty performers as of November 2, 2005. Twenty-nine of the thirty are direct descendants of our Dancer. The only horse who is not a direct descendant is Silent Witness, tied for thirteenth in the rankings. Ironically, Silent Witness is the only gelding in the top thirty and therefore the only horse on the list who will not be extending his or her breeding line. Silent Witness does have a strong connection to our Dancer through his sire El Moxie who is out of the Dancer’s half sister, Raise The Standard out of the Dancer’s dam Natalma.

The list represents breeding from seven different countries and the winners of every major International race in the federation’s 55 different countries. In addition to having that one common thread of our Dancer’s bloodline, the twenty-nine horses on the list share in their ability to excel at the highest level of their sport. The top 16 on the list, down to Silent Witness have a combined record of (213-112-38-21) and lifetime earnings to this point of almost $33,000,000. That is a winning percentage over 50% and top 3 finishes of over 80% against the best thoroughbreds in the world.

The ratio of direct male descendants to descendants through female lines is fairly evenly split with 55% of the descendants, direct males. Six of the twenty-nine are through the Danzig line with five of those six, direct males. Sadlers Wells, Nureyev and Lyphard have four descendants each. There are many on the list with multiple genetic links to the Dancer, I only included the first link in each case. Danehill is the most successful grandson on the list with four descendants in the top 30 but Montjeu has 2 in the top 5.

(these charts were not the greatest in my book either - click to enlarge and you should get the idea - when I update with this years rankings I will improve the charts)





Quick Link back to Chapter 8 for original book flow - hit home to return to here
http://northerndancerblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/chapter-8.html

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Latest Numbers on Leading Sires of 2009

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Here are the latest numbers on International Sires earnings up to November 20,2009 for only descendants of our little Dancer. As always these days the Japanese purses tend to dominate the International earnings list with their huge prize money but there are several countries represented here. I had to use a staggered year to bring in the Australian and New Zealand numbers since their season runs July to June.

I used the top 100 according to bloodhorse.com and found 75% were descendants of Northern Dancer and added another 10 from the Australian/New Zealand list. In just these 86 sires we have over 640 million dollars in earnings in less than one year of racing.

Notice who is sitting on the list with $5.4 million in offspring earnings - the Dancer's retired son, Sadler's Wells. All Sadler's Wells has done over his stallion career is lead Britain's sires list 14 times since 1990 with 13 of those years in a row from 1992-2004 (he finished 2nd in 1991). He also led the French list 3 times and the North American list once. (click on them to enlarge a chart)




Bloodhorse Leading International Sires
http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/thoroughbred-breeding/sire-lists/international

Friday, November 20, 2009

Let's refresh that 2005 leading sires chart

I will not have complete data for 2009 for a while so here is the chart for 2008. Click on the chart to enlarge it - you may have to click it twice.



International Cataloguing Standards from the Jockey Club Information Systems

http://www.tjcis.com/pdf/icsc00/frontmaterial.pdf

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chapter 6


The Dancer's Place in History

The history of thoroughbreds in North America dates back to the early 1700’s. A British colony for the better part of the next century, the United States was dominated in those early years by imported sires, primarily from Britain.

American leading sires lists (by earnings) date back to 1860 when the stallion, Revenue, led the earnings list for sires with $49,450 to his credit. For the next 14 years that list would be led by the great sire Lexington, an American record that will probably never be broken. Lexington also led the list two more years in 1876 and 1878 and was very instrumental in Kentucky’s prominence as a thoroughbred breeding state. While Kentucky’s rich soil and perfect climate provided the ideal setting for the grazing thoroughbred it was the presence of the dominant sire Lexington that would attract breeders to the area and establish the blue grass state’s tradition as the hub of thoroughbred breeding in North America.

Despite his dominance as a sire, no direct male offspring of Lexington would ever lead the sires list. Lexington’s male line of descendants would eventually vanish but his genes would survive through his female descendants where almost 75% of the leading sires since Himyar (1893) carried the genes of Lexington, including our Northern Dancer. Through the Dancer’s sire Nearctic and his sire Nearco, you can trace the lines to Lexington. Nearco’s 3rd dam Sibola (1896) won the 1899 One Thousand Guineas and was the granddaughter of Lexington through his daughter Maiden (1862).

It is interesting to look back on the history of the American thoroughbred to see how its roots are traced to Europe and how some 275 years later, America is now an exporter and leading producer of thoroughbreds in the world. In the early 1900’s however, America was still an importer and what makes Nearco a bit of an oddity is that small trace of American blood through Lexington. Nearco was Italian bred with three generations of European breeding except for his 3rd dam Sibola, the American bred granddaughter of Lexington. It is fascinating today, to follow the flow of breeding from Europe to America and back again and to see the influence Northern Dancer had on that flow. Before him, his great, great grandmother Sibola was setting the trend.

Northern Dancer only led the American leading sire’s list once in 1971 but he did lead England’s sire list four times in 1970, 1977, 1983 and 1984. Some sources have Northern Dancer on top of the North American list in 1977 also but Dr Fager had more North American earnings (The Dancer had more international earnings). What has preserved Northern Dancer’s place in history has been his success as a sire of sires with what has become the most dominant male line of thoroughbreds in the world today.

Lexington’s record of 14 straight years atop the leading sires list in America may never be touched but Northern Dancer’s son Sadler’s Wells has led England’s sire list for the past 13 years straight (1992-2004), he also led the American list in 1995. Lyphard was the first of Dancer’s sons to lead the American sires list in 1986. The Dancer’s son, Danzig led the American sire’s list three straight years from 1991-1993 while another son, Storm Cat led the list in 1999 and 2000 and sandwiched in between are grandsons Deputy Minister in 1997, 1998 and Palace Music in 1996. In fact, since 1991 only two of America’s leading sires do not have Northern Dancer’s genes (Broad Brush 1994 and Kris S. 2003). The Dancer’s son, Vice Regent was Canada’s leading sire for thirteen years.

France’s leading sire list has been occupied by sons of Northern Dancer 9 times. Lyphard (1978, 1979), Nureyev (1987, 1997), Sadler’s Wells (1993, 1994, 1999), Fabulous Dancer (1992) and Fairy King (1996). The next generations, Montjeu and Linamix have led the French sire’s list 2 of the past 3 years.

The Dancer’s offspring were also successful breeding outside North America and Europe. Son Northern Taste led the Japanese sire’s list 10 times (eight years in a row 1985-1992). Grandson Danehill led the Australian sire’s list 9 of the past 11 years.
In Argentina, grandson Southern Halo from daughter Northern Sea led the sires’ list 8 years in a row from 1994-2001 and again in 2003. In New Zealand it’s great grandson Volksraad leading sires for the past 3 years (2002-2004) and before him grandson Zabeel led 4 years in a row from 1998-2001. India’s leading sire for 6 of the past 8 years has been Northern dancer’s son Razeen. Venezuela’s leading sire from 2001-2003 was grandson George Augustus. South Africa’s leading sire for 2 of the past 3 years has been great grandson Western Winter and before him, grandson Fort Wood (1998) and son Northern Guest in 1989.

Northern Dancer’s line will survive well into the 21st century and he has solidified his place in the history of thoroughbred racing.

Every year countries have various ways of recognizing their thoroughbred champions. Here is a compiled list of Leading International sires by country or region for 2005 where Northern Dancer’s bloodlines are present. There are 23 countries or regions represented here from Argentina to Zimbabwe.



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nov 16, 1990 Northern Dancer was humanely destroyed

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He lived to the ripe age of 29 which is quite old for a thoroughbred. His last crop of foals was born in 1988 which meant he had an incredibly long career as a stallion as well as a great one.
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Here is a great news clip from the day he died with tributes pouring into Windfields from all around the world.

A few more farewell pics

(click on images to enlarge them)

















Let's blow up a few pics from yesterday











(click on any to get full size)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mission accomplished - it wasn't easy

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(click on photo to enlarge)


The four hour return trip was bearable. The uncertainty of what to expect when we got their was difficult. The early signs were good, buildings still standing but when we got to the gate it was closed with a new sign "Strictly Private Property, sorry no visitors". I said I would do whatever it took to put my flowers on his grave. The first problem was finding a place to park - the main gate area was too small. We pulled into the south entrance where we parked in the driveway of an abandoned house on the property. We waited a few minutes and when no one came out we decided we would see how far we could get, after all on my first trip here when it was a working farm, I never saw a human for over an hour and now the place looked deserted. We walked slowly at first up the long tree lined laneway but the farther we got, the faster we walked. We were almost to the arena and still not a person to be seen. We took one last look back at the car, it was barely visible and no tow truck in sight. A few of the buildings were in rough shape but the place still looked amazing and so serene. We went directly to the graves. I would take my pictures on the way out. We put our single red rose and gerby substitute for a black-eyed susan on his headstone. Mission accomplished. I started snapping photos as we slowly walked away. A person drove up in a car but went right on by without a wave or a comment. We were really taking our time now. It was Linda's first time to see the farm in person, it's too bad she couldn't see it busy with mares and weanlings and yearlings but you could still feel the majesty of the place. As we got to the laneway to take us out to the car we heard a tractor over on the main driveway, he turned toward us ... busted. We told him we were on our way out and just wanted to put some flowers on the grave. He apologized and said he was just doing his job. We had a Windfields police (tractor) escort out of the farm. The thirty minutes we were on the farm seemed like five but we did get to say goodbye and this video contains most of my shots. Goodbye Windfields, rest in peace my little hero.

Goodbye Windfields - Rest in Peace Dancer

video

video

Friday, November 13, 2009

Looking for help

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Thank goodness I didn't get the help I was looking for in this appeal or we would not have made that last visit to Windfields Farm on Nov 14,2009. The top photo is the sign on Nov 14, 2009 while the second photo is what the sign looked like in May, 2006.

I want to make one last trip to Windfields Farm before it is levelled. Either tomorrow or Sunday I would like to head to Oshawa to pay my respects and get one last look at this beautiful piece of Canadiana. Apparently the last of the mares and foals are being auctioned off in Kentucky any day now. I tried all day to contact the farm but no answer. I am trying to find out if the farm is still accessible to the public. The sign used to say visitors welcome Monday - Sunday (1-3:30 pm). The graves will be preserved in a park but the rest of the farm will become another housing development. I have asked the question on a Windfields facebook page as well. If I make the two hour trip it would take quite a bit to prevent me from entering but I would prefer not to break the law. If anyone knows the answer, please comment here. Monday is the 19th anniversary of the little guy's death and I would like to put a rose on the grave of my childhood hero who won the run for the roses 45 years ago. I will keep you posted on this little quest.

The Star (Toronto) article - you can access 17 nice photos in the article as well - Sad days.
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/722053--last-gallop-for-legendary-windfields-farm

My trip(s) to Windfields in 2006.
http://northerndancerblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/chapter-39.html

Let's add another page of races

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(click on chart to enlarge)


As I researched this year's classics I had to pass over some big races so I thought I would add another page. There were some big purses in here. There was only 1 of these 36 top 3 finishers who was not a descendant of the Dancer. Even I was surprised how solid the 2009 results were. I honestly thought we could see a slight decline by now. The impact of this extraordinary character is staggering.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Let's jump ahead to today - Nov 12, 2009

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(click to enlarge charts)



Here are the same two charts to this point in 2009. The earnings here are just approximations again and probably on the low side (and converted to $US). I will always use earnings as a relative form of measurement in this sport, if for no other reason than it emphasizes the impact this one little thoroughbred had on his sport. It also reflects the relative health of the sport which definitely has had its ups and downs over the years.

Of the 25 races I have been following since 2005 there are 3 that have not taken place yet this year. I will update the last 3 races when they run. Of the 66 top 3 finishers in the books all but 2 of them were descendants of Northern Dancer and more and more seem to have mutliple links. We are talking about 14 different countries here on 5 different continents.

Chapter 4

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The Dancer's International Impact


(click on charts to enlarge)



(click on charts to enlarge)
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Fast forward to Dec 31, 2005

It’s the end of another season of International racing. The “sport of kings” is truly an International sport and Canada’s contribution to the sport’s royalty continues in the bloodline of our little “Dancer”.

Here are the results of some of the Classic Thoroughbred races from every continent on our globe. These races are either rich in history or prize money or both. England’s St Leger stakes is the oldest dating back to 1776. In many cases these events are huge National celebrations attracting hundreds of thousands of people live and millions via television or the Internet.

Ironically, Canada’s Queens Plate (not listed here) could only claim the third place finisher Gold Strike as a descendant of our Canadian hero.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chapter 3

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Nijinsky

Rewind to September 12, 1970

England’s St Leger Stakes is the oldest of Britain’s Classic races dating back to 1776 and the third jewel in Britain’s Triple Crown. History could be made this day if Northern Dancer’s son, the Canadian bred Nijinsky can win the classic race (it would be his eleventh straight victory in as many starts). There had not been a British Triple Crown winner in 35 years and no horse had ever won the Triple Crown, the Irish Derby and the King George Stakes.

After an undefeated, champion two-year old season, Nijinsky won the first leg of the Triple Crown (the Two Thousand Guineas) easily in the spring of 1970. He faced a tougher challenge in the Epsom Derby, the second leg in the Triple Crown, where many people felt he would have trouble with the longer distance just as his sire did in the Belmont Stakes. Nijinsky won the Derby going away in the fastest time since Mahmoud in 1936. After Epsom and before the St Leger, Nijinsky won the Irish Derby, then raced against older horses for the first time, destroying a quality field in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. The stage was now set at Doncaster, England for the St Leger stakes and the third jewel in British Racing’s Triple Crown.

There had been serious problems leading up to the St Leger. Nijinsky’s legendary trainer Vincent O’Brien would not have raced him if left to his own devices but owner Charles Engelhard wanted him to win the Triple Crown to punctuate one of the greatest racing careers of all time. Nijinsky had suffered a serious attack of ringworm at the end of August that severely hampered his ability to train for the St Leger.

Despite his recent illness, with a little over a furlong left, Nijinsky showed his trademark acceleration to overtake the leaders and win the St Leger by a length over Meadowville. For the first time in his career however, he had nothing left according to his jockey, the great Lester Piggot. Nijinsky lost 31 pounds during the race and was totally spent.

Nijinsky had succeeded in England where his sire had failed in the United States in winning the third jewel of that nation’s triple crown.

Just like his sire, the brilliant Nijinsky was a National hero (albeit a different nation). He would go on to finish second in his last two races. Nijinsky lost by a head in France’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe to Sassafrass (the French Classic is one of Europe’s most prestigious races). The ringworm and what some say was a questionable ride from Piggot may have been just too much for the champion to overcome. In his last race, the Champion stakes in Newmarket, England, Nijinsky came back to Britain to an enormous, emotional ovation but his final race would be anti-climatic as he finished second 1-1/2 lengths behind Lorenzaccio.

Nijinsky finished his racing career with an impressive record of eleven wins, two seconds in thirteen lifetime starts (13-11-2-0), earning $677,118. He was Champion Two Year Old of England and Ireland and Champion Horse of Europe as a three year old.

Following Nijinsky’s career from Canada opened my eyes to the history and tradition of European racing. To see a Canadian bred horse dominate the way Nijinsky did in Britain was almost as exciting as watching his father win the Kentucky Derby in 1964. I would follow the careers of many Northern Dancer offspring but Nijinsky was perhaps the most exciting of all from purely a racing performance standpoint.

Nijinsky’s exceptional performance on the track did not mark the end of his influence on racing. Just like his father, Nijinsky went on to be an outstanding sire, producing multiple Epsom Derby winners, Guineas winners and even a Kentucky derby winner.

From Northern Dancer’s standpoint, the mark Nijinsky made on the International thoroughbred scene raised the profile of his sire to another level. Nijinsky was out of the Dancer’s second crop of foals. People were already paying attention to Northern Dancer as a sire but now that attention was coming from all over the world. Northern Dancer’s stud fees would rise from $10,000 for a live foal in 1965 to $100,000 by 1980 (eventually he would turn the thoroughbred breeding economy upside down with fees of $1,000,000 and no guarantees of a live foal). All this from the little horse no one wanted for $25,000 in 1962.

Nijinsky - Pedigree
http://www.pedigreequery.com/nijinsky2

Nijinsky - with Vincent O'Brien and Lester Piggott
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/06/01/article-0-00B9D4831000044C-191_468x416.jpg

Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame
http://www.canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com/thoroughbred/1976/Nijinsky_II.html

Heartbreak - L'Arc 1970 - Undefeated heading into it - it's still hard to beleive he didn't win it. So many of the videos of Nijinsky's career are not available but this one is still out there.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSPnEWU3E7k

Before getting back to Chapter 3

I am ready to carry on with Chapter 3 of the book after detouring for the Melbourne and Breeders Cups last week. Before I do I just wanted to point out this little fact. What made Northern Dancer very special in his day as a stallion was the International impact he had and it still separates him from his piers today. Five of last week's twelve winners who were descendants of the Dancer were bred outside North America. I will spend more time on this aspect later but the son from Northern Dancer's second crop who I will discuss in Chapter 3 is probably the most significant reason for the Dancer's overall success as a stallion but more importantly, his International success.

You will see the impact Northern Dancer had on the International scene shortly but it all started with this next character and one of my favorites in the Dancer's legacy. From last week's winners;

Shocking (Aus)
Midday (GB)
Vale of York (Ire)
Goldikova (Ire)
Conduit (Ire)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Breeders Cup 2009 in the books

It was another typical Breeders Cup with 37 of the 42 top three spots represented by descendants of Northern Dancer who took home over 80% of the $25,000,000+ in purse money. There were amazing performances by two mares in Goldikova and Zenyatta, with Zenyatta retaining her perfect record (unfortunately she was one of the five who were not descendants of our Dancer but it didn't stop me from cheering for her).

Let's meet a few more of the great grandkids.

That's Twice Over chasing down Zenyatta in the Classic

Conduit winning the Breeders Cup Turf

Furthest Land winning the Dirt Mile

The brilliant mare Goldikova winning the Mile

Vale of York nosing out his distant cousins in the Juvenile

Dancing in Silks noses out more distant cousins in the Sprint
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Gorgeous images from AP/Getty and Yahoos Photo Gallery. Here is the link to the full gallery.

Breeders Cup Classic Nov 7, 2009

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Wow, what a mare. Here's her pedigree anyway.

http://www.pedigreequery.com/zenyatta

Video

http://www.breederscup.com/division.aspx?divisionname=classic

Breeders Cup Turf Nov 7, 2009

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Conduit - Pedigree

http://www.pedigreequery.com/conduit4

Video

http://www.breederscup.com/division.aspx?divisionname=turf

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Breeders Cup Dirt Mile Nov 7, 2009

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Furthest Land - Pedigree

http://www.pedigreequery.com/furthest+land

Video

http://www.breederscup.com/division.aspx?divisionname=dirtmile

Breeders Cup Mile Nov 7, 2009

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What a performance - reminiscent of Makybe Diva and she might be back for a third shot at it.

Goldikova - Pedigree

http://www.pedigreequery.com/goldikova

Video
http://www.breederscup.com/division.aspx?divisionname=mile

Breeders Cup Juvenile Nov 7, 2009

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Vale of York - Pedigree

http://www.pedigreequery.com/vale+of+york4

Video

http://www.breederscup.com/division.aspx?divisionname=juvenile

Breeders Cup Sprint Nov 7, 2009

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Dancing in Silks - Pedigree

http://www.pedigreequery.com/dancing+in+silks

Video

http://www.breederscup.com/division.aspx?divisionname=sprint

Breeders Cup Turf Sprint Nov 7, 2009

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Gotta Have Her - Pedigree

http://www.pedigreequery.com/gotta+have+her

Video

http://www.breederscup.com/division.aspx?divisionname=turfsprint

Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf Nov 7, 2009

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Pounced - Pedigree

http://www.pedigreequery.com/pounced2

Video

http://www.breederscup.com/division.aspx?divisionname=juvenileturf

Breeders Cup 2009 Day 1 Photo Gallery (AP/Getty Photos)

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Meet some of the great grandkids
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Life is Sweet wins the Ladies' Classic
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Informed Decision winning the Filly and Mare Sprint
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Midday winning the Filly and Mare Turf

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Tapitsfly winning the Juvenile Fillies Turf

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Man of Iron noses out Cloudy's Knight at the wire in the Marathon
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Photos from AP/Getty and Yahoos Photo Gallery - here is link for full gallery

Friday, November 6, 2009

Breeders Cup 2009 - Nov 6, day 1 in the books

It was 16 of 18 top threes in day one who were descendants of our little Dancer. They took home over 80% of the $7,000,000 purse money. I think it's fair to say they will take home the majority of the $25,000,000 available this weekend. All this from the little guy nobody wanted for $25,000 when he was a yearling in 1962. The live coverage on the Breeders Cup website was outstanding. I wonder if Ted Beare made it down to Santa Anita this year? He has been to every Breeders Cup since he retired from our Brantford Expositor some 15 plus years ago and an inspiration for my book. You can click on the chart from each race to enlarge them. The earnings were just approximated.

Breeders Cup Ladies' Classic Nov 6, 2009

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Video

http://www.breederscup.com/division.aspx?divisionname=lclassic

Life is Sweet - Pedigree

http://www.pedigreequery.com/life+is+sweet3