The top of the heap is never mentioned. It wasn’t too long ago that you commented “what is never described is the EASE with which the grey one conquered all comers save one.” My question is, if Native Dancer was undefeated, how should racing fans treat him. How far behind Secretariat would you rank Native Dancer, with a record of 22: 22-0-0?
Native Dancer ran against 138 rivals, and defeated all but one. Had he passed Dark Star in his Derby, he would be the rarest of rare in American racing – the only horse to have won the Triple Crown, and to have never lost. What would his legacy be then, and where should Native Dancer be placed on a list of the greatest ever?
There will always be horses who have memorable seasons and remarkable Triple Crown victories. Another may come along later and best these achievements. You will never again see an American race horse who exemplifies the all around thoroughbred with such a stellar career. I wanted to pick Kelso or Kelso5 for my license plate. They were already taken. ClarenceFender and Buckpasser are spot on, he was exceptional.
You have 40 years more experience than I do in horseracing, t_v. I simply don’t believe that any super horse is going to perform well no matter what a trainer does. Secretariat had a fever before the Whitney and was started anyway. The pressure was on to start him, but should Lucien Laurin have said no? Frank Whiteley detected a fever before Ruffian ran the Frizette, and was glad he scratched her when the hairline fracture was finally discovered. Trainers make goofs just like everybody else in life, and no horse is immune to poor decision making. Your comments about the backstretch workers are spot on. I saw this firsthand last year on my walking tour at Saratoga Race Course.
Favorite Trick, La Prevoyante, Moccasin, Hamburg, Domino, Colin, Tremont, Cicada (owned by nearby meadow Stud) and Buckpasser. All great names from the past who had nice two year old seasons. Horses of old seemed to have more stamina, as evidenced by the longer courses then. With today’s equipment, training techniques, nutrition and better track surfaces, how would these two year olds fare against modern horses? Maybe this is a stupid question, but can the modern horse be better bred for both stamina and speed, as they did more of years ago?
I wish I had been there to see Kelso and Forego lead the post parade at this Gold Cup that included John Henry. It would be the only time that the three super geldings were ever together, and Kelso’s last day on a track. Thanks for your wealth of knowledge from the past 60 years, Buckpasser. Keep those stories coming.
In the Chesapeake Trial, Eddie Arcaro steered Citation to the outside coming into the final turn. Why not the inside, shorter route? “I didn’t want to go inside a bunch of bums I could run around whenever I wanted to,” said Arcaro. A badly tiring Hefty drifted wide and pushed Citation towards the outside rail. If Arcaro had gone inside instead of out, causing him to finish second, Citation would likely have had a record of 24 straight. Asked whether he believed that Hefty’s jockey, Carson Kirk, impeded Citation on purpose, Jimmy Jones snapped “Certainly he did it intentionally. He was a wise guy, a real wise guy. I always wanted to hurt that boy some, but he beat me to it. He died.”
Who had the best two year old season in America? It’s a tossup between many good ones, including Citation, Man o’ War, Affirmed and Native Dancer. The paramount three year old season certainly belongs to Citation, who won 19 of 20, with a second to Saggy at muddy Havre de Grace three weeks before his muddy Derby. He even took the Jersey Stakes between the Preakness and the Belmont. Big Cy defeated older horses 7 times as a three year old, including Horse of the Year Armed twice in his first two races. These early season victories prompted Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons to utter the praise “Up to this point Citation’s done more than any horse I ever saw, and I saw Man o’ War.” Ranked #3 by Blood-Horse, the leading money winner of the world had the honor of being the first champion to be painted by Richard Stone Reeves.
Buckpasser – Nice numbers. Citation looks like he faced the fewest rivals by far. Was he so dominate that the others owners avoided him?
Ruffian’s half sister Revidere won the Ruffian Handicap the year after the match race. Ironically, she also won the Coaching Club American Oaks that year with Jacinto Vasquez aboard, was trained by David Whiteley, and took the Champion Three Year Old Filly award. Revidere also ran in 11 races, and was never out of the money.
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