the patriarch

Nearctic, sire of the mighty Northern Dancer,


rules as patriarch of the most dominant sire line in the long history of the Thoroughbred.

How was it so little was known of this horse?

To uncover the answers, I ended up on an extraordinary journey.  Along the way I met a remarkable cast of characters: rogues and royalty, gamblers and charlatans.   I was also introduced to the ‘who’s who’ of outstanding horses: from Nearco and Hyperion to Pretty Polly and Old Bald Peg.  Nearctic, I would discover, in many ways represented the sum total of Thoroughbred brilliance.

Dark Horse: unraveling the mystery of Nearctic was published in the fall of 2001.  Shortly thereafter, General Distributing, the warehouse containing Dark Horse and countless Canadian books, was caught up in a lawsuit following the bankruptcy of Stoddard Publishing.  Our books were collateral damage.  It wasn’t until the following spring that the legal and financial haggling came to an end.  By then book stores were making way for the new spring titles.   Dark Horse and an entire generation of Canadian books lost their place in the sun.  That was almost 20 years ago.  And, for me, several books ago, but I am still not ready to quit.

The manuscript of my next book is out with the “readers,” so while I await their opinions, I plan to embark several projects: one of which is to encourage Thoroughbred owners and breeders and aficionados to take the time to explore the life of Nearctic.

…to be continued

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