On This Day...
Photo: The Blood-Horse Library
Sword Dancer at Gulfstream Park
March 11. 1959
Sword Dancer at Gulfstream Park

Sword Dancer didn't figure to win the March 11 Hutcheson Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream Park in his 3-year-old debut.

His best races as a 2-year-old had come around two turns, and it looked as if it would be the same his 3-year-old season. Sword Dancer, a homebred for Isabel Dodge Sloane's Brookmeade Stable, finished fifth in the Hutcheson, beaten four lengths.

Then things started to pick up. Sword Dancer won at a mile and 70 yards in his next start, and then ran second in the Florida Derby at 1 1/8 miles. A week before the Kentucky Derby, he came within a fifth of a second of the track record in winning the Stepping Stone purse at seven furlongs at Churchill Downs. In the big race itself, he was caught by English-bred Tomy Lee near the wire and was beaten a nose.

Sword Dancer ran second in the Preakness and captured both the Metropolitan Handicap and the Belmont Stakes in his next two starts.

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