Home Horse Racing Native Diver: California’s Homegrown Horse Racing Famous person

Native Diver: California’s Homegrown Horse Racing Famous person

Native Diver: California’s Homegrown Horse Racing Famous person


All through the lengthy historical past of horse racing in the USA, California has produced an abundance of regionally bred stars.

Swaps was a record-breaking celebrity within the early days of tv. Greatest Pal gained greater than $5.6 million again within the Nineties. The gritty gelding Lava Man nabbed all the Golden State’s richest prizes throughout the 2000s. Fan favourite California Chrome gained the Kentucky Derby and two Horse of the 12 months titles between 2014 and 2016.

However some of us would possibly argue there’s by no means been a higher California-bred than the sensible Native Diver, a front-running speedster who plied his commerce throughout the Nineteen Sixties. Sure, he misplaced extra typically than he gained. True, he primarily by no means ran outdoors of California. However take one look at Native Diver’s previous performances and also you’ll perceive why he’s nonetheless revered to today as one in every of California’s best homegrown stars.

Bred and raced by Mr. and Mrs. Louis Ok. Shapiro, Native Diver exhibited two major sturdy fits throughout his embellished profession – ample pace and unimaginable sturdiness. Between his debut in 1961 and his last race in 1967, when he was 8 years previous, Native Diver race 81 instances and compiled 37 victories. Excluding his transient juvenile season, Native Diver averaged greater than a dozen races per 12 months and gained just about each main stakes race in California, lots of them a number of instances.

Velocity? Native Diver had loads to spare. Over the course of his profession he broke or equaled seven observe information, most notably clocking seven-eighths of a mile in 1:20 flat (then a world report) whereas profitable the 1965 Los Angeles Handicap.

Stamina? Native Diver had all he wanted. Along with his sprinting pace, Native Diver was blessed with the endurance of a high-class router. How else do you clarify his three consecutive victories within the 1 ¼-mile Hollywood Gold Cup, every one achieved by a minimal of 4 ¾ lengths?

When Native Diver gained Hollywood Park’s signature race for the third time in 1967, it was as a lot a testomony to his sturdiness as his expertise. The brown gelding, so darkish in shade as to look black, led all the best way to win by 5 lengths within the sensible time of 1:58 4/5. Such a efficiency would have been spectacular even from a 4-year-old on the peak of his powers. Coming from an 8-year-old making his eightieth begin, the hassle was downright extraordinary.

“Fabulous Native Diver, refusing to bow to age and 4 rivals, scored a blazing wire-to-wire triumph … as an unbelieving crowd of 51,664 roared a heat and royal ovation for the king of California Thoroughbreds,” wrote Martin Kivel within the Impartial Star-Information of Pasadena, Calif. on July 16, 1967.

In some respects, Native Diver was fortunate to have the ability to run in any respect. Jill Williams, writing in “Thoroughbred Champions: High 100 Racehorses of the twentieth Century,” factors out: “Native Diver was a wild horse at coronary heart, injuring his again in a spree of impetuous conduct as a yearling. Consequently, he ran together with his head held excessive to accommodate the harm. His fractiousness left his connections no selection however to geld him, however the operation did little to calm his spirit.”

Possibly that was a great factor. Native Diver knew of just one technique to run – quick from begin to end – and his free-running fashion served him effectively for seven seasons. With the help of longtime jockey Jerry Lambert and lifelong coach Buster Millerick, Native Diver was in a position to take advantage of his huge potential and make historical past alongside the best way. Together with his third triumph within the Hollywood Gold Cup, he grew to become simply the seventh horse in historical past to win greater than 1,000,000 {dollars}.

Native Diver routinely dominated races coveted to today as main prizes. The Malibu Stakes? He gained it by 6 ¼ lengths. The San Francisco Mile? He gained it twice, 4 years aside. The San Diego Handicap? He gained it 3 times, similar to he did the Hollywood Gold Cup and the Inglewood Handicap.

The Palos Verdes Handicap, the San Carlos Handicap, the Los Angeles Handicap – over the course of time Native Diver gained them every twice, and never at all times consecutively. Throw in additional than a dozen different stakes races Native Diver claimed at one time or one other, and the sheer breadth of his race report turns into staggering by trendy requirements.

We are able to solely think about what number of races Native Diver might need gained if not for his premature passing. In September 1967, lower than two weeks after profitable the 1 1/8-mile Del Mar Handicap in track-record time, Native Diver was stricken with colic. Though rushed to the College of California, Davis, veterinarians had been unable to avoid wasting the nice gelding.

Newspapers throughout the nation carried the story and mourned Native Diver’s passing. “The ‘massive black horse’ thrilled horsemen and followers each time he went to the observe,” wrote Ed Romero within the Sept. 13, 1967 version of the San Francisco Examiner. “For the ‘Diver’ even a coaching drill was a factor of magnificence. His daybreak trials had been in the principle quicker than most horses run in competitors.”

Millerick paid tribute to his secure star by merely telling the Examiner, “He was one of the best horse anybody ever educated.”

Maybe after seven years of conditioning the sensible, black blur, Millerick’s opinion may very well be thought of biased. However then once more, perhaps Millerick was on to one thing. Pour by way of the historical past books. Look at the race information of the game’s best champions. On the subject of sustained success at a excessive degree, over all kinds of distances, you’d be hard-pressed to seek out one other horse like Native Diver.

Word: This story was originallt printed in 2019 and has been up to date.

Enjoyable Info

  • Native Diver retired with a report of 37 wins, 7 seconds, and 12 thirds from 81 begins.
  • By accumulating earnings of $1,026,500, Native Diver grew to become the primary California-bred racehorse to earn greater than $1 million.
  • Native Diver was a son of Imbros out of the Satan Diver mare Fleet Diver, whom the Shapiros claimed for simply $3,500 in 1954.
  • Native Diver solely ran as soon as outdoors of California, ending sixth within the 1965 Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park in Illinois.
  • In 1978, Native Diver was inducted into the Racing Corridor of Fame. He’s thought of one of many best horses to by no means win a championship title.
  • Native Diver was initially buried at Hollywood Park, the place he scored lots of his best victories. When Hollywood Park closed down on the finish of 2013, Native Diver’s stays had been transferred to Del Mar.



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