‘Grey Ghost’ Still Haunts the Hallowed Halls of Saratoga Race Course
As the month of October creeps toward Halloween, "The Graveyard of Champions" remains quiet.
The course has acted as the backdrop for thousands of thoroughbred horse races over the decades, and has seen a number of perfect records vanish into thin air. Upsets are the name of the game, with horse-racing legends like Secretariat and Man o' War suffering earth-shattering losses in the Capital Region.
One beast that never fell victim to "The Graveyard" was one nicknamed "The Grey Ghost", and his legacy still roams the tracks at Saratoga.
As chronicled by Brien Bouyea in The Saratogian, Native Dancer, aka The Grey Ghost, turned heads as soon as he arrived at the Spa:
"Native Dancer won each of his nine of his starts as a 2-year-old in 1952, including a phenomenal August at Saratoga during which he won the Flash, Saratoga Special, Grand Union Hotel and Hopeful all within 26 days." - The Saratogian
Native Dancer would return to Saratoga Race Course as both a three and four-year old in 1953 and 1954, continuing its winning ways, finishing with six total victories in six starts in New York. The Grey Ghost's total win numbers were equally as impressive, winning 21 times in 22 starts during its illustrious career.
Legend has it, the winning spirit of "The Grey Ghost of Sagamore" still can be felt at the Spa. While you may never see its hooves creating prints in the dirt like a *real* ghost story, the pedigree of Native Dancer truly never dies.
A sculpture of Native Dancer, sits at the corner of Union Avenue and Circle Street, forever enshrining it among the best to ever touch the dirt at Saratoga. Its legacy helped lead a new generation of thoroughbreds to success in the horseracing world.
Don't believe me? Check out these numbers:
"As a stallion, Native Dancer sired 43 stakes winners from 306 registered foals..." - The Saratogian
So, as we draw closer to the close of "spooky season" in the Capital Region, we remember those that fell victim to the "Graveyard of Champions" at Saratoga. That said, we also remember the one "ghostly" figure who never suffered that kind of demise.