Had it not been for The Minstrel the world of the Thoroughbred would be a very different place. Yet, none of this might have happened because, the night before he was to be shipped to the Kentucky sales, he went rogue.
Let’s pick up the story from Rivers of Gold:
“In the fall of 1974 Eddie Taylor agreed to send a small consignment of yearlings to the July sale at Keeneland. Based on his stellar bloodlines, the son of Fleur and Northern Dancer (The Minstrel) was among the youngsters chosen to represent Windfields.
From the night he was born the colt was a handful. Bursting with nervous energy, he was as tough as they come. As with his sire and grandsire (Nearctic) and his great-grandsire (Nearco), he was independent and willful to an extreme.
Late one evening in the summer of 1975, just prior to the yearlings being loaded on the Windfields 12-horse van bound for the US, the night watchman sounded an emergency alert. A lone horse had been spotted galloping wildly around the farm and was last seen darting into he woods behind one of the barns. There were about 600 horses to consider, but a quick check revealed an open stall door in one of the yearling barns. The former inhabitant, and now the freely about the 1500 acres, was the son of Fleur and Northern Dancer. Most of the staff lived on the farm and before long everyone, including resident veterinarian, Doctor Rolph deGannes, was mobilized:
“We searched the entire yearling side of the farm, but to no avail. I had been preparing to euthanize an aged, ailing mare. Staff had dug a 12 foot deep grave about 100 yards behind her barn. The yearling manager was driving around that particular barn when something glistened in the truck lights.”
Standing on the rim of the open pit was the yearling son of Fleur and Northern Dancer. Presumably he’d traveled many miles and enjoyed many adventures in the past few hours and was now prepared to return to the comfort of his stall…”
…to be continued. and more adventures to follow