My mission to solve the mystery of Nearctic began as a casual question: where was
Nearctic when the other horses were entering the starting gate for the 1957 Queen’s Plate? He was, after-all, the most regally-bred horse in the country. I knew that his owner, EP Taylor, had gone to great lengths, and expense, to acquire Nearctic’s dam, Lady Angela from England; and even greater lengths and expense to negotiate the mating that would produce Nearctic.
Other than that, and that he sired Northern Dancer, I knew little about Nearctic. I was a youngster when Nearctic raced and not long after his son won the Kentucky Derby, Nearctic was exiled to Maryland to stand at Mrs. DuPont’s Woodstock Farm.
I was writing a lengthy piece for my series, Supreme, for leading Japanese magazine, Weekly Gallop. I was at the part where EP Taylor and his wife,Winifred, not only each had their own racing stables, they each had a horse entered in the 1957 Queen’s Plate. Chopadette was owned by Mrs. Taylor and he owned Lyford Cay. The good-natured rivalry between husband and wife was often reported by Canada’s sports writers.
EP Taylor offered to buy Lyford Cay’s jockey, Avelino Gomez, a brand new Cadillac if his horse won the race. He did. Mrs. Taylor’s Chopadette was second. Avelino Gomez was soon driving a black Cadillac, the size of a yacht around the backstretch.
Both Lyford Cay and Chopadette were born of Windfields crop of 1954. As was Nearctic. I knew he had raced at two and won stakes both in Canada and US. It was at this juncture I asked the question: “What happened to Nearctic?”
I thought finding the answer would be simple. I was wrong…. to be continued