But for longshot pacesetter Dark Star, a rough trip, and a ride that one wag suggested took him everywhere but the ladies’ room, Native Dancer would be mentioned in the same reverent tones reserved for the 11 Triple Crown winners.
Still, the Galloping Grey Ghost of Sagamore Farm appears on everyone’s list of the all-time greats, Winner of the Preakness, Belmont, Travers, Metropolitan, and a barrel-full of other stakes, the son of Preakness winner Polynesian won all but one of the 22 starts he made — that one being a second-place finish in the 1953 Kentucky Derby.
On Monday at Laurel, the big horse’s memory will live on in the form of the Native Dancer Stakes, a 1 1/16 mile test for older horses. Sagamore Racing will sponsor the event, which drew 20 nominations. “We are honored and excited for the opportunity to partner with the Maryland Jockey Club for this special race,” said Tom Mullikin, Sagamore Racing General Manager. “Native Dancer is and will always remain a Sagamore Racing legend, and even as we look ahead to the upcoming race season, it is important that we remember and celebrate our deep-rooted history.”
Entries for the race will be drawn today. Among the nominations is Sagamore runner Tiger Walk, an also-ran in last year’s Preakness coming off second and third place finishes in allowance company.
- Some of the nominees for the Native Dancer are cross-entered in today’s eighth, a third-level allowance going a mile on the main track. If they start here, Service for Ten, Pretension, and Concealed Identity will presumably skip Monday’s race. Their presence here will make this race, which also includes the inconsistent but talented Cherokee Artist and stakes-placed Graham Motion trainee Meistersinger, an awfully intriguing race and the second really nice allowance race on the card; the seventh is a second-level allowance for older horses, and it, too, has an interesting group. Perhaps it’ll make for better wagering than Saturday’s chalk-fest.
- Closer to home — like, really close to home — That’s Amore runner Johannesboom broke her maiden on Friday at Gulfstream only to be claimed from the race. Still, congrats to trainer Terri Pompay, her team, and the gang associated with her for a job well done.