Native Dancer

Native Dancer

Belmont Park Photo

On This Day...

April 18, 1953
Native Dancer

Native Dancer ran his unbeaten record to 10 in a division of the April 18 Gotham Stakes at Jamaica in his 3-year-old debut.

"Any question in your mind about Native Dancer is easy to answer; he's as good as you thought," wrote George F.T. Ryall in The Blood-Horse. "Also, any doubts about his ability to win at more than a mile were scattered to the wind at Jamaica last week. Having been one of the first to wave a small flag for Native Dancer--and flag-waving is not one of my customary diversions--I was especially gratified.

"Nevertheless, I must say that the mile-and-a sixteenth Gotham Stakes couldn't have been made easier for him if it had been made to order. Of course, whenever a race is split, there is always an easy half (the one your horse didn't get in), but I've seldom seen such a collection of pushovers in one section. For that reason a few curmudgeons insist that Native Dancer's performance wasn't much."

Impressive or not, Native Dancer won by two lengths as the heavy favorite. His time, 1:44 1/5, was a fifth of a second slower than Laffango's time in the other division. Daily Racing Form caught Laffango in 1:43 2/5.

Native Dancer won the Wood Memorial Stakes at Jamaica a week later, then shocked the racing world by running second to Dark Star in the Run for the Roses. He then won the Withers, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes.

Click here to read more about this Thoroughbred Legend in Native Dancer, available now from