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Native Dancer

Native Dancer
Deleted image removed: #REDIRECT Template:Ffdc
Sire Polynesian
Dam Geisha
Grandsire Unbreakable
Damsire Discovery
Gender Stallion
Foaled 1950
Country United States
Color Gray
Breeder Alfred G. Vanderbilt II
Owner Alfred G. Vanderbilt II
Racing silks: Cerise, white diamonds, cerise, sleeves, white cap.
Trainer William C. Winfrey
Record 22:21-1-0
Earnings $785,240
Native Dancer is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Geisha by Polynesian. He was born around 1950 in the United States, and was bred by Alfred G. Vanderbilt II.
Major wins

Hopeful Stakes (1952)
Flash Stakes (1952)
Grand Union Hotel Stakes (1952)
East View Stakes (1952)
Youthful Stakes (1952)
Futurity Stakes (1952)
Saratoga Special Stakes (1952)
Travers Stakes (1953)
Wood Memorial (1953)
Arlington Classic (1953)
American Derby (1953)
Dwyer Stakes (1953)
Withers Stakes (1953)
Gotham Stakes (1953)
Metropolitan Handicap (1954)

American Classic Race wins:
Preakness Stakes (1953)
Belmont Stakes (1953)
U.S. Champion 2-Yr-Old Colt (1952)
United States Co-Horse of the Year
U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt (1953)
United States Horse of the Year (1954)
U.S. Racing Hall of Fame (1963)
#7 - Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)

Native Dancer (March 27, 1950 - November 16, 1967), nicknamed the Gray Ghost, was one of the most celebrated and accomplished thoroughbred racehorses in history, the first horse made famous through the medium of television.

Born at Scott Farm near Lexington, Kentucky, the gray colt was raised and trained at owner Alfred G. Vanderbilt II's Sagamore Farm in Glyndon, Maryland. A son of 1945 Preakness Stakes winner Polynesian out of the mare Geisha, in his first season of racing Native Dancer won all nine races he entered, thrilling crowds with his come-from-behind running style. He was voted the Eclipse Award as Champion 2-year-old for 1952 with two of the three major polls naming him Horse of the Year.

In his three-year-old campaign, the undefeated racehorse received a great deal of media attention leading up to the 1953 Kentucky Derby. He won both the Gotham Mile and the prestigious Wood Memorial en route to racing's most prestigious event but at the Derby, Native Dancer lost for the first time. Although jockey Eric Guerin was roundly criticised in the press, the horse had in fact been fouled twice during the race but recovered to barely lose to Dark Star. To date Native Dancer is still one of only two "Dual Classic Winners" ever to come from the state of Maryland (the other was Kuai King) and one of only eleven Maryland-bred colts to win a Triple Crown race. Eight of those eleven have won the Preakness but only he and Caveat have won the Belmont Stakes from the "Old Line State."

Following his loss at Churchill Downs, Native Dancer quickly reestablished himself as one of the best horses in America. He won the Preakness Stakes, the Belmont Stakes, and the Travers Stakes, a feat accomplished until then only by Duke of Magenta, Man o' War, and Whirlaway, and by only two other horses since. Native Dancer never lost again that season and was named Champion Three Year Old Colt.

In 1954 Native Dancer won all three races he entered and was scheduled to be shipped to France to compete in the prestigious Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. However, he had to be retired as a result of a recurring foot injury with a record of 21 wins out of 22 lifetime races. Voted the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year for 1954, he appeared on the May 31 cover of Time magazine.


As a sire

At stud, Native Dancer was a highly successful sire, and is an ancestor of countless modern champions. One of his daughters, a mare named Natalma produced the great Northern Dancer. His tail-male descendants, particularly through his grandson Mr. Prospector, have come to dominate the U.S. Triple Crown races.

Among Native Dancer's offspring are:

  • Native Street - multiple stakes wins including the 1966 Kentucky Oaks

Native Dancer is also the grandsire of Sea Bird II, considered by many racing experts to be the best post-war European racehorse. His wins include the 1965 Epsom Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Sea Bird II earned 145, the highest Timeform rating in history.

Native Dancer was inducted in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1963. He died on November 16, 1967 and was buried at Sagamore Farm in Glyndon, Maryland.

In the Blood-Horse magazine ranking of the top 100 U.S. thoroughbred champions of the 20th century, Native Dancer was ranked #7. In the Associated Press rankings of the greatest racehorses of the 20th century, Native Dancer ranked #3, tied with Citation, behind only Man o' War and Secretariat.


Pedigree of Native Dancer
Polynesian (USA)
Sickle Phalaris
Blue Grass Prince Palatine
Hour Glass
Black Polly
Polymelian Polymelus
Black Queen Pompey
Black Maria
Geisha (USA)
Display Fair Play
Ariadne Light Brigade
John P. Grier Whisk Broom II
La Chica Sweep
La Grisette (FNo.5)


External links


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