Dance Smartly

Hall of Fame Inductee, 1995

Dance Smartly was destined to become “Royalty in Racing” from the time she was foaled. The bay daughter of Danzig, thus a granddaughter of Northern Dancer, out of champion Classy ‘n Smart, was born with a star-like marking on her forehead.

When she retired she was the leading money-winning ($3.2 million) filly or mare in the world; the first filly to win Canada’s Triple Crown; first Canadian-bred to win a Breeders’ Cup race and as a broodmare produced Queen’s Plate champions Scatter The Gold and Dancethruthedawn.

Dance Smartly’s class began to emerge at two when she won three of five races, including the Natalma Stakes, placing second in the Ontario Debutante Stakes and third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Belmont Park. The best was yet to come. In 1991, Dance Smartly’s momentum began with victories in the Star Shoot and Selene Stakes. She showed she was Canada’s best 3-year-old filly by easily winning the Canadian Oaks. Then she took the measure of the boys, romping to victory in the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine and the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie. Then, with a $1 million dollar bonus on the line, Dance Smartly showed her versatility by winning the 1 1/2-mile Breeders’ Stakes on the turf.

Racing fans still hadn’t seen the best from the filly from Ernie Samuel’s Sam-Son Farm. After humiliating the “boys” in the Triple Crown series, she took the measure of some of the best colts and geldings in North America in the Molson Export Million. The filly moved with disdainful ease on the final turn to assume control of 1 1/8-mile classic and went on to defeat a field which included Fly So Free, the 1990 champion 2-year-old colt in North America.


Dance Smartly capped a perfect season at Churchill Downs in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, galloping down the lane under the long shadows of the Twin Spires as the odds-on favorite, winning by 1 1/2 lengths. The eight-for-eight season earned Dance Smartly, brilliantly trained by Jim Day, an Eclipse Award as North America’s champion 3-year-old filly, as well as a Sovereign for Horse of the Year. Her bankroll for the year amounted to $2,876,821. After four races at age four, she retired as the leading money-winning filly or mare in the world. In 2003, Dance Smartly was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame at Saratoga, N.Y.