From humble beginnings as a yearling who didn't sell because he was thought to be too small, to becoming a revered champion and sire, Northern Dancer had an incredible journey that placed him solidly in Thoroughbred racing's history.
Bred by E.P. Taylor and owned by Taylor's Windfields Farm in Ontario, Canada, Northern Dancer's biggest year by far was 1964. Trained by Horatio Luro and with jockey Bill Hartack in the saddle, he became the first Canadian-bred winner of the Kentucky Derby! He went on to win the Preakness Stakes, and then finished third in the Belmont Stakes. After the triple crown races, he traveled to Canada to run in Queen's Plate, which he won by seven and a half lengths. For his achievements, he was named North America's champion three-year-old colt, as well as the Canadian Horse of the Year!
His legacy lives on today as a result of his extraordinary influence as a sire, and as a sire of champion sires! In fact, Northern Dancer is considered to be one of the most influential sires of the 20th century, having sired an incredible 147 stakes winners! Close to 75% of the world's Thoroughbreds have the Northern Dancer bloodlines in their lineage, and almost 40% of the top-earning Thoroughbreds are linebred with Northern Dancer bloodlines on both the dam's and sire's side. His most famous sons include: Be My Guest, Danzig, El Gran Senor, Fairy King, Lyphard, Nijinsky II, Northern Taste, Nureyev, Sadler's Wells, Storm Bird, and Vice Regent.