Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association, Inc.
WHAT HORSE GAVE NATIVE DANCER HIS ONLY LOSS?
Alfred G. Vanderbilt was from the richest family in America. At age 21 his mother gifted him a 600-acre horse farm in Maryland which he ran-- breeding and racing horses most of his life. He ran Pimlico racetrack in Baltimore Maryland. After stint in the Navy, he then returned to racing, bringing his greatest champion, Native Dancer, to the track in 1952. Native Dancer won all 9 starts as a 2-year-old and was named Horse of the Year. He won every start as a three-year-old too, except the Kentucky Derby, which he lost by a head to Cain Hoy Stable's Dark Star. However, Native Dancer was named 3-year-old Male Champion and was Horse of the Year again in his 4th year. All told, he won 21 of 22 starts, with the single second-place finish in the 1953 Kentucky Derby his only career loss. Many consider the Grey Ghost of Sagamore to have been the first Thoroughbred television star, and TV Guide ranked him as a top icon of the era"