Sport Horse Pedigrees, Part 2–Nearco`s Son, Nearctic, Sire of Northern Dancer

Nearctic established himself in modern pedigrees simply by siring Northern Dancer. If he`d sired that one horse, and not one other, he`d have been a towering influence in the modern thoroughbred, because Northern Dancer`s influence is all powerful and all pervasive. The story of the Nearctic sire line is really the story of the Northern Dancer sire line, so let`s look at this tiny horse (15.1 say some, 15.2 say others), as chances are, if you ride a thoroughbred, you ride one of his descendants.

Canadian breeder E.P.Taylor sent his yearlings to the sales, each with a reserve price. Luckily for Mr. Taylor, at the 1962 sales, Northern Dancer was considered such a little peanut that nobody bid him up to his modest reserve price of $25,000, so he was sent to Taylor`s racing division. I remember sitting in Denny Crawford`s truck at the Potomac Horse Trials in 1964, listening to the Kentucky Derby on the radio, when Northern Dancer won. He proved he was fast and a top race horse. In later years he would prove to be an even greater international sire.

“Pillars of the Turf” like Charles Engelhard discovered that the Northern Dancer offspring could dominate the turf courses of European racing, and before long names of his foals became synonymous with classic races, Nijinsky 2, The Minstrel, El Gran Senor, Shareef Dancer, Lyphard, Sadlers Wells, Nureyev, Storm Bird, the list went on and on.

The sons and daughters sired and produced winners, those third generation foals did the same. The horse that I just completed my 50 consecutive year of eventing on, Union Station, is by Dumaani, by Danzig, by Northern Dancer, by Nearctic, by Nearco. Chances are, you ride one, too. So Google Northern Dancer, and learn about him, because he may have been tiny, but, like Mighty Mouse, he was a Titan!

In the next installment, we`ll sidetrack away from the Nearco line, to a line that`s so frequently blended with Nearco that it`s a catagory in and of itself, the line of the “Grey Ghost”, the mighty Native Dancer.


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