Oil on canvas, 16” x 20”
Signed, dated 1985
$3,000. – 5,000.
In 1952 Canadian businessman E.P. Taylor asked George Blackwell of the British Bloodstock Agency to purchase the best mare available at the December Newmarket sales. Blackwell selected Lady Angela, a mare by Hyperion who was in foal to Nearco. Taylor also liked the mare and told Blackwell to purchase her on the condition that he had to secure another season to Nearco for her. Lady Angela was the sale-topper at 10,500 guineas. The foal she was carrying when she was sold didn’t amount to much, but the foal from the Blackwell-secured mating with Nearco proved to be much better. That foal was Nearctic. Nearctic was Canadian Horse of the Year in 1958, a memorable achievement in its own right, but he is decidedly best known as the sire of Northern Dancer, arguably the most successful sire of the 20th century.
Northern Dancer cemented his status as a Canadian hero with a record-setting 2:00-flat victory in the prestigious Kentucky Derby. A homebred from Taylor’s Windfields Farm, Northern Dancer was trained by Horatio Luro, who also trained Princequillo (lot 35). He was named champion at 2 in Canada after major stakes victories on both sides of the border. At 3 he was named champion male in the U.S. and Horse of the Year in Canada. While not a Triple Crown winner, he won three classics — the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and Canada’s Queen’s Plate. At stud, he went on to become one of the most influential sires of the late 20th century, continuing St. Simon’s line to the present day in horses such as Justify, who has four crosses to Northern Dancer.