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John Sparkman has written another excellent piece on Native Dancer (read it here) that comments on the great gray’s conformation and on his influence over contemporary pedigrees.

The sire of two colts who finished first in the Kentucky Derby (1968 winner Dancer’s Image was disqualified for the presence of bute in his system), Native Dancer sent important sons around the globe. Among them were Dan Cupid (out of Vixenette, by Sickle), who ran second in the French Derby and sired English Derby and Arc de Triomphe winner Sea-Bird, and Atan (out of Mixed Marriage, by Tudor Minstrel), who won his only start and sired the important international sire Sharpen Up.

The Sharpen Up hocks that were considered something of a blemish on that stallion’s progeny were also typical of many from this line. Raise a Native, who was a grand-looking horse, had hocks far behind him as a young horse.

Although having hocks parked out behind a horse is frequently considered a fault, it doesn’t prevent horses from racing effectively, and it is one of the traits most commonly associated with horses that have exceptional power. To use their extra leverage to full potential, such horses must have great strength through their backs and hindquarters, and those that are properly fitted for this can often do their best work on turf, which provides a better grip for pushing, than on dirt, which slips away more easily … except when it’s wet.