The Hall of Fame: Racing’s Greatest Greys

Published 2020/07/07

The Hall of Fame: Racing’s Greatest Greys

In a sport dominated by rich chestnuts and deep bays, grey horses inevitably draw the eye. Charging down the turf like otherworldly spectres, these phantasmal mounts are easy to spot even in the hustle and bustle of the busiest race.

It is this quality that so often makes them a crowd favourite. Standing out from their brethren both in the parade ring and on track, greys tend to innately draw our attention, so that even the most experienced bettor can find it hard not to be swayed by their striking good looks and standout appearance.

In some instances, of course, this star quality is more than just skin-deep, with many incredible greys having brightened up the world of racing over the years. Here are three of the most memorable. Native Dancer

Nicknamed ‘the Grey Ghost’, Native Dancer was foaled on March 27th 1950. By Polynesian out of the Discovery mare Geisha, he quickly began to make his mark on the track, winning 21 out of his 22 starts. A sporting and media star in his native America, this handsome stallion was especially a hit with bettors, cutting a striking image on the black-and-white TV screens of the time. His only loss came in the 1953 Kentucky Derby, when he finished a head behind the impressive Run to Roses. However, the grey’s greatest legacy was not the many accolades he collected on track, but his incredible offspring, who went on to produce some of the greatest racehorses of all time, including the unparalleled Northern Dancer.

Lady’s Secret

While many of racing’s most famous names are stallions or geldings, enthusiasts know that there have also been some incredible mares throughout the history of the sport. One of these was Lady’s Secret, a daughter of Secretariat. Pretty and petite, this little horse didn’t look like a champion at first glance, but her record on track speaks for itself. Racing 45 times over the course of her illustrious career, she brought home 25 wins in four years, along with earnings of over $3 million for her connections. Named Champion Older Mare and Horse of the Year in 1986, she is a bona fide member of the Racing Hall of Fame, and was one of the pluckiest mares we’ve ever had the privilege of watching. She was also the first filly to win the Whitney Stakes since Gallorette in 1948.

Desert Orchid

Those who follow horse racing betting know what a big deal the King George VI Chase is, and while Santini and Lostintranslation might be the odds-on favourites to win this year’s challenge, there’s one horse that neither can hope to rival: the incredible Desert Orchid. Storming home with the victory on four separate occasions, his record wasn’t rivalled until Kauto Star burst onto the scene three decades later. Arguably the most popular grey racehorse who ever competed, the lovable ‘Dessie’ delighted his fans time and again, with his flamboyant jumping style making him one of the greatest hurdlers who ever lived. Winning 34 races and clearing over 1,000 fences throughout the course of his career, he passed away peacefully in his stable aged 27, whereupon his ashes were buried at the track that had seen so many of his triumphs.

Will there ever be another grey who can compare with these three greats? We can only hope so.