The arrival of Dancer’s Image at Glade Valley Farms in Frederick, Md., marked the third Kentucky Derby winner in the five years to stand in the state, joining Windfields Farm’s 1964 winner, Northern Dancer, who would stand his first season outside Canada in 1969, and 1966 winner Kauai King, standing at Sagamore Farm since his retirement in 1967.
Bred and raced by Peter Fuller, Dancer’s Image crossed the finish line first in the 1968 Derby, but was disqualified due to the presence of phenylbutazone in his system. A court case was still pending to reinstate the colt as the winner.
The deceased Sagamore great Native Dancer was the ancestor of all three Derby winners – sire of Dancer’s Image and Kauai King, and grandsire, through daughter Natalma, of Northern Dancer.
Allaire duPont’s Politely repeated as Maryland-bred Horse of the Year. The homebred daughter of *Amerigo became the all-time richest state-bred distaffer when earning $552,972, and captured seven stakes in 1968 at age 5, including the Delaware Handicap and repeats in the Molly Pitcher and Firenze Handicaps (carrying 131 pounds in the 1968 Firenze), and Matchmaker Stakes, in which she equalled her own course record. Also named champion filly or mare and champion turf runner, she retired with 21 wins (13 in stakes) in 49 career starts, 14 placings (eight stakes). She was scheduled to be bred to Round Table.
Politely didn’t produce a foal her first year, but bred to the likes of Dr. Fager, Northern Dancer, Damascus, Hoist the Flag, The Minstrel, Alydar, Halo and Smarten, eventually produced 11 foals. Of her eight starters, four won, two were stakes winners – Northerly (by Northern Dancer) and Salutely (by Hoist the Flag).
Three Maryland-breds were previous champions. In addition to Politely, 3-year-old champion Dancer’s Image was champion at 2, and Tuscalee earned his third title as top jumper. Other division winners were 2-year-old Mister Diz, older horse Jim J, and fillies Show Off (2-year-old) and First Noel (3-year-old).
Joe Aitcheson Jr. captured the steeplechase riding championship for the fifth time. At age 40, the Laurel, Md., resident posted 36 victories in 166 mounts. Among his top rides was Maryland-bred champion Tuscalee.