Toronto industrialist and Thoroughbred breeder E.P. Taylor wanted to prove to the world that his native Canada could produce racehorses as good as any, and he backed up his belief by offering his own yearlings for sale. So, he couldn’t have been happy when buyers in 1962 rejected a well-bred but small bay colt from his Windfields Farm consignment. But Taylor could hardly have envisioned the degree to which this seeming misfortune would boomerang in his favor.Ultimately, he would have the satisfaction of breeding, then racing the horse that would transform the international bloodstock market.
Named Northern Dancer, the sales reject proved his worth by winning the 1964 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes for Taylor. In doing so, he became a Canadian hero. And that was only the beginning. As a stallion, the diminutive Northern Dancer exerted a legendary influence on the breed, at one time commanding a million-dollar stud fee. International competition for his offspring created world records in the auction ring.
Respected pedigree authority Avalyn Hunter tells the compelling story of the fiery colt who towered over his peers and the humans who played supporting roles: legendary trainer Horatio Luro, jockeys Ron Turcotte and Bill Hartack, and Taylor himself. Hunter also chronicles Northern Dancer’s ascendancy as the world’s most coveted stallion and the dynasty he established through his sons. Over thirty years have passed since Northern Dancer's death, and all of his sons are now gone as well; even most of his grandsons have passed from the scene. Yet the Northern Dancer sire line shows no signs of fading.
Avalyn Hunter's love affair with Thoroughbred racehorses began in 1973, when Secretariat became the ninth American Triple Crown winner with a record-breaking victory in the Belmont Stakes. Since then, she has become a nationally recognized authority on Thoroughbred pedigrees and racing history whose work has appeared in The Blood-Horse, Thoroughbred Times, Owner-Breeder International, Market Watch, New York Breeder, and Louisiana Horse. Her other books include American Classic Pedigrees 1914–2002, Dream Derby: The Myth and Legend of Black Gold, and The Kentucky Oaks: 150 Years of Running for the Lilies.
American Classic Pedigrees is enthusiastically recommended reading for professionals as well as non-specialist general readers with an interest in the lineage of championship racehorses.
Area Thoroughbred racehorse fans will find that Avalyn Hunter’s American Classic Pedigrees takes a fresh look at equine bloodlines that have produced champion runners, and gives us a history refresher to boot.
Avalyn Hunter’s first published book [American Classic Pedigrees] is a triumph of equine research.