Northern Dancer: out of the gate

Viceregal, Northern Dancer’s first offspring, was not only spectacularly beautiful, he was a courageous champion.  Undefeated at two, in 8 starts, 7 of them stakes races.    Indeed I clearly was such a fan, my boss at Woodbine, Trent Frayne, talked me into witnessing Viceregal’s  final two year-old race, the Cup and Saucer Stakes, from the roof of Woodbine.  Frayne assured me it offered the best view.

Michael Burns Sr photo

We no sooner arrived on the roof when the starting bell clanged.  Before long it looked as if Viceregal was about to suffer his first defeat.

“Coming into the homestretch, he was a good ten lengths behind the leaders.  Suddenly he became airborne, his golden mane flying in the wind and his long tail sailing behind like a banner.  He galloped across the finish a neck ahead of the unsuspecting front runner, Grey Whiz.

It’s impossible to know what propelled Viceregal that mild October afternoon; whatever it was that carried him to victory despite his physical limitations and his pain, abandoned him in the winners’ circle.  Viceregal limped away lame…”

“Northern Dancer sired 21 foals in his first year at stud.  Although Viceregal was by far the most beautiful and exciting, his other offspring also proved themselves racehorses of substance…”  (Northern Dancer: the legend and his legacy)

… to be continued

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