Watching Thunder Snow refuse to yield in those final demanding strides of the Dubai World Cup last weekend had me thinking about Northern Dancer. Of course our great Canadian hero is found many times in Thunder Snow’s family tree. And of all Northern Dancer’s character traits, it was this very refusal to yield, no matter what, no matter how exhausting, that I recall most vividly.
That the little horse from Canada with the short, choppy stride was able to hit the Kentucky Derby finish ahead of the lanky, long-striding Hill Rise was possible solely due to this sheer grit and determination.
Speaking of character, I will never forget Thunder Snow’s brief appearance at the 2017 Kentucky Derby. After taking but a couple of strides across the soggy track, he realized the race course conditions were not to his liking. To make his point the tall, lanky colt began a bucking spree that would have dislodged most rodeo riders. Fortunately his jockey stayed the course and the outriders rallied instantly.
Now, several years later, this extraordinary horse has back-to-back Dubai World Cup victories notched in his girth. Thanks, in my opinion, to inheriting Northern Dancer’s grit.