Raise a Native, 1963

More Charles Hatton, this one about Raise a Native from the 1964 American Racing Manual.


“Picked from the worm-holes of long vanished days, and from the dust of old oblivion raked” is a vividly exciting recollection of the 1953 Kentucky Derby, with Native Dancer a gray streak, charging Dark Star so fast one could not see his legs, missing victory by inches. That was the only time in 22 starts he failed to make the scene in the winner’s circle.

When the immensely popular “Dancer” retired, his fans waited nearly a decade for him to sire a runner of his own exceptional ability. Finally, in 1963 came a Raise a Native, a two-year-old colt of incredible early speed.

Four times, Lou Wolfson’s $39,000 yearling bargain went to the post. He never saw another horse once the bell rang, smothering his opposition and drawing farther away as his races progressed, winning always in a romp, twice in track record time.

A colt muscled like a gladiator, with a coat like a sunburst, Raise a Native made hacks of all the rivals led up to him. By Native Dancer out of the fast mare Raise You, the fans felt here was a colt “born on the steps of the throne.” But it was not to be. Journeying to New Jersey for the Sapling, he bowed in his left fore working for that stakes and was at once retired to stud.

The cruel luck Raise a Native encountered that August morning may have deprived racing of a great performer, and Burley Parke’s charge of the divisional honors. Except for his maiden victory at Hialeah, all Raise a Native’s races were at the Big A, and while he captured two stakes, the Juvenile and Great American, none of his races was beyond 5 1/2 furlongs.

Missed Title by Only 10 Points

The sad fact he could not be tried over a route weighed heavily against him and he missed the title by only 10 points in Daily Racing Form-The Morning Telegraph annual poll.

Many colts come up from the depths of obscure lineage and discover an ability that is not readily apparent to yearling buyers, like the $700 Alsab and the $2,500 Exterminator.

Raise a Native was a marked colt from the first. His breeding and conformation found him passing from the ownership of breeder Cortright Wetherill to Mrs. E. H. Augustus for a record sum of $22,000 as a weanling. He was a bargain for Mrs. Augustus when she sold him to Wolfson for $39,000, and a bargain for the master of Harbor View when he won $45,955, though his racing career was confined to strutting all too brief an hour. Actually, he still is proving a good investment as an untried sire, having elicited bids for his services from Kentucky to England, several British breeders being included among those applying for nominations.

Trainer Burley Parke, who developed Noor and a string of Futurity winners such as Occupation, Occupy and Mighty Story, declares that Raise a Native was ” . . . the fastest two-year-old I ever trained.”

Accident Rather Than Weakness

The former jockey from Idaho also states that Raise a Native’s bowed tendon is the consequence of an accident, surmising he stepped into a hoofprint or a deep spot in the track, rather than the result of some inherent weakness.

“His legs never gave us any trouble, nor showed any evidence of weakness,” the veteran said.

Raise a Native was an uncommonly well developed individual and the cynosure of all eyes when he saddled in the sunken garden of a paddock at Aqueduct, always attracting a large gallery. At a glance, he looked the part of a precocious, brilliantly fast colt, short coupled and muscular.

His rapid development gave him an advantage over growthier individuals in the dashes during the first half of the season. Chieftain incidentally was the same type, though with somewhat less pronounced musculature.

Raise a Native will mature at about 16 hands though his round barrel and extraordinary development of hind quarters make him appear smaller.

Of Raise a Native’s physical type it is often said: “He is a bigger horse on the scale than under the standard.”

The Harbor View colt has his dam’s chestnut colt, with a faint, small star and a bit of white behind the off fore coronet. His general contours are those of his sire, however, though the latter had more scope at the same age. He has a short muzzle and ear, a good eye widely spaced, large nostrils with plenty of room between the jowl plates, and a stout neck of moderate length.

The scapula is at the approved angle and heavily muscled, as is the forearm. His torso is deep and round. Rather than having any tendency toward lightness in the back ribs he inclines toward having a pot belly. The back is of fair length and he is level from withers to croup, with a strong loin and considerable width across the hips.

It will be many a long day, we should imagine, before we see another colt with Raise a Native’s remarkable length of pelvis. This is his best point, physically, and is a feature he can have inherited from his sire.

The more closely the length of a horse’s pelvis approximates the length of the back, from the base of the withers to the coupling, the better racing men like him. Raise a Native’s hindquarters are enormous, with the muscle swelling upward from either side of the ilium.

The hoofs and pasterns are right and the cannons of medium length. He is a very large-boned colt of the sort the Irish would be guaranteed to admire. Some could wish he had more refinement and quality about the joints though the hind leg is set on straight enough.

Raise a Native a Good Doer

Temperamentally, Raise a Native left nothing to be desired, and he was obviously a good doer. He carried his head low and ran in a plain bridle with neither blinkers nor any sort of bandage.

Quiet and contained in the paddock and on parade, our subject never broke out nor showed any signs of washiness albeit he was a little rank at the post. Always, he broke like a bird leaving a limb, and never did he meet a rival capable of staying head and head with him after they had gone perhaps 70 yards.

Raise a Native’s action was collected and controlled, the impetuous dashing style of the flier rather than the long, low sweep of a stayer, epitomized by Kelso.

Horses having long, straight tibias and humerus construction are by nature the sort to gallop big distances. Conversely, the angle makes for quicker starts, a more rapid stroke, and perhaps more expenditure of effort.

Never Ran on Other Than Fast Track

Raise a Native never ran on other than a fast track but it would be surprising if one of his sort could not “run on a tin roof.”

A few skeptics, regarding the distaff side of Raise a Native’s pedigree, his sprinted style, always wondered if he would stay. As many other were sanguine he would go any distance two-year-olds race, if only as a matter of momentum.

Surely, Native Dancer needs no introduction. He was the champion at two and three and the Horse of the Year in 1954. Only Tom Fool, one year his senior, was considered to be in the same exalted class with him among their contemporaries.

Native Dancer is by Polynesian of the Phalaris tribe out of the Discovery mare Geisha, who comes of the speedy family of El Chico and Miyako.

Raise a Native’s dam, Raise You, is the foundation dam of the Wetherill stud. Raise You was a good stakes winner at sprint distances and is by Teddy’s son Case Ace, who won a Futurity for Mrs. Ethel V. Mars out Chicago way then had his future compromised by becoming desperately ill. He proved a good sire for J. M. Roebling in New Jersey. Case Ace’s dam was Sweetheart, the lovely daughter of Ultimus who became ancestress also of Bounding Home, Marching Home, Knickerbocker and all that crowd.

Raise You is out of Lady Glory, an unraced daughter of American Flag who was in turn out of Beloved, an unraced daughter of Whisk Broom II. The next dam was Bill and Coo, a product of Idle Hour, by the Disguise horse Helmet out of the imported mare Padula. We chanced to be at the Bradley farm when Derby Dick Thompson unloaded Padula from England. A splendid big brown Laveno mare, she made a lasting impression on our bloodstock as the dam of Black Servant [the sire of Blue Larkspur].


Raise a Native was named 1963 champion two-year-old colt in the Turf and Sport Digest poll. Hurry to Market prevailed in the other two polls.

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13 Responses to Raise a Native, 1963

  1. Allison Hill Roulston says:

    Thank you for posting this eloquent, spot-on contemporary assessment by the keen-eyed Charles Hatton.

    Of particular note IMO is that trainer Burley Parke pointed out that Raise a Native’s bowed tendon was the consequence of an accident and not some inherent weakness — that “his legs never gave us any trouble, nor showed any evidence of weakness.”

    I’ve always taken heart in the fact that RAN’s full sister, Aces Swinging, produced the long-winded One On The Aisle, a come from far behind winner of the 14-furlong San Juan Capistrano.

  2. Qatmom says:

    Thank you for typing up these Charles Hatton pieces.

    The turf writers of a few decades ago could achieve a high style without becoming affected or maudlin, freely displaying their love of the horse and of racing. This is beautiful writing. I find much contemporary writing about racehorses painful to read in its awkwardness, and worse, in not knowing or appreciating the history and past of the game.

  3. Dave Dowdy says:

    Burley was my grandfather. He trained many fine horses. Although Ocupation, Ocupy, Roman Brother, Raise A Native were fine horses. Noor was probably his best.

    • Barry Tannenholz says:

      If it were any horse other than Raise a Native, I would certainly agree with you. After all, Noor defeated Citation four times in a row–all, I believe, in record time. But Raise a Native was a horse for the ages. He might have become what Secretariat did. His incomparable influence at stud indicates his remarkable performances on the racetrack should be taken at full value. I witnessed all three of his races in New York; they were unbelievable. When he broke down, the outpouring of praise was unprecedented: many veteran trainers called him simply the greatest horse they had ever seen. I believe everyone involved with Harbor View still regarded Raise a Native as the greatest horse they ever raced–even after Affirmed won the Triple Crown. You might want to ask Louis Wolfson’s sons about this. Your grandfather was the original Giant Killer; he not only trained Noor to defeat Citation four times, he trained Occupation to beat the even greater Count Fleet twice.

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