Canada and the kingdom of Northern Dancer

Northern Dancer
Doug Saunders photo

I’ve been pondering Dr. Hill’s statistics that of the 10,000 Thoroughbreds in her recent study, 97% trace to Canada’s Northern Dancer.  I really should not be surprised.  The entire ‘back story’ is told in my book The horse and the tiger.

The Irish determination with finding another horse as brilliant as Nijinsky, surely set off the quest for Northern Dancer bloodlines.  Dr. Hill’s latest research project, I suggest, points to the long-term results of the era of the “million dollar babies.”

For greater depth, especially if you are interested in the history of the Thoroughbred, there’s my Dark Horse: unraveling the mystery of Nearctic.  Ultimately, I believe, the genetic makeup of Nearctic is a key to understanding the power and the durability of the Northern Dancer bloodlines.

The there’s the fact that the Thoroughbred is a hybrid.  According the world-renowned botanist, Gregor Mendel, certain genetic combinations will create a more vigorous, or hardier hybrid.   Which is, I suspect, what happened in Canada:  Northern Dancer and his sons Nijinsky, The Minstrel and the rest were raised here and spent their early days galloping about across snow-covered fields.

These stories and so much more are found of course in Rivers of Gold… to be continued


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