Nijinsky II

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The racehorse Nijinsky (February 21st, 1967 - April 15th, 1992) (named after the dancer Vaslav Nijinsky) was a son of Northern Dancer and Flaming Page, both winners of the Queen's Plate, and a great-grandson of Nearco and Bull Lea. After being sent to stand at stud in the United States, he was registered there as Nijinsky II.

One of the greatest in thoroughbred horse-racing history, this imposing, muscular horse with anything but a gentle nature was bred at E. P. Taylor's famous Windfields Farm in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. He was then bought at the Windfields Farm's annual yearling auction for $84,000 by American minerals industrialist Charles W. Engelhard, Jr. on whom the James Bond character Auric Goldfinger in the novel Goldfinger and subsequent film was based.

Shipped to Ireland, where he was trained by Vincent O'Brien in Ballydoyle, County Tipperary, Nijinsky became champion two-year-old of both England and Ireland in 1969. The next year, after winning the 2,000 Guineas Stakes, the Epsom Derby and the Irish Derby, Nijinsky defeated an illustrious field of older horses at Ascot in the mile and a-half King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. These victories revealed Nijinsky and regular jockey Lester Piggott as perhaps the most formidable horse-and-jockey combination ever seen on a racecourse.

Despite a subsequent attack of ringworm [1] [2], he won the Doncaster St. Leger over one mile and six furlongs, thereby becoming the first horse since Bahram 35 years earlier to complete the English Triple Crown. In his next race, Nijinsky ran in the world-famous Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Hippodrome de Longchamp in Paris, France, where he was sensationally beaten a head by Sassafrás. Many attribute his defeat to an unusually sloppy performance from Piggott, who gave the horse far too much ground to make up in a race not long after his exertions in the St Leger over a longer distance.[citation needed] In his final race, the Champion Stakes, he again finished second, this time to Lorenzaccio. This defeat, while partly attributable to the horse becoming too excited and sweating in the warm-up, confirmed that Nijinsky was past his brilliant peak, and he was immediately retired to stud at Claiborne Farm near Paris, Kentucky where he became a very successful stallion.

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