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10 Facts About Northern Dancer

Ramon Cerda on Northern Dancer working out at Keeneland, 04.16.1964. From the Keeneland Library - Meadors Collection. This image is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in print or electronically without written permission of the Keeneland Library.

1.) After Northern Dancer lost the 1964 Belmont Stakes, the mayor of Toronto named June 8th, 1964 to be “Northern Dancer Day”. Northern Dancer’s owner, Eddie Taylor, was given a “key to the city” that had been carved out of a carrot. When the carrot key was presented to Northern Dancer, he promptly ate it.

2.) Often times, Northern Dancer’s offspring looked much like him. They were short (one of the exceptions being the 16hh Nijinsky) and had that Quarter-Horse type look that Northern Dancer was known for. A great example of this being Danzig.

3.) In 1984, twelve Northern Dancer yearlings sold for an average of $3.4 million. Adjusted for today’s inflation, this number would be about $8.3 million.

4.) Northern Dancer was full of antics. Sometimes he could be found with a hoof stuck in his hanging feed tub or in his hay net. When the foxhunters would ride by, Northern Dancer would run up and down the fence line until he was so worked up that someone at the farm would have to go out and get him.

5.) Northern Dancer’s book of mares averaged around 36 per year.

6.) When Northern Dancer was pensioned in 1987, his breeding income vanished and Windfields Farm was closed in 1988. Northview Stallion now occupies that land.

7.) In 2013, 35-40% of graded stakes winners were descendants of Northern Dancer’s male line.

8.) Horses descended from Northern Dancer have won more Breeders’ Cup races than descendants of any other horse.

9.) Northern Dancer had a companion horse named TV Commercial. When Northern Dancer was euthanized in 1990 because of colic, TV Commercial was brought in to keep him comfortable.

10.) Northern Dancer is buried halfway between the barn that he was born in and the barn that he sired his first classic winner in at Windfields Farm in Canada.


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