Not far from traffic-choked I-795 and a few turns past dueling strip malls, Tufton Avenue opens onto 530 acres of serenity. Fourteen miles of white fencing border emerald pastures, and white, red-roofed barns glisten like a wet coat of paint.
Here, on the grounds of Sagamore Farm, lie the remains of one of horse racing’s great champions, Native Dancer, who was buried in full (rather than simply his head, hooves and heart, as is common), along with his blanket, halter and a bag of treats.
Such was the love that Alfred G. Vanderbilt II had for his prized racehorses. And such was the attention to detail at Sagamore Farm, which was owned by the heir to one of the Gilded Age’s vast fortunes from 1933, when Vanderbilt’s mother presented the property as a 21st birthday gift, until 1986, when he sold it to a developer.