When we think of great horses which lucky us in the 20th century, an individual might need to include Dr. Fager. The Good Doctor was foaled at Tartan Farm at Florida in 1964 and has been sired by Rough And Tumble.
The major bay was a yearling if Tartan Farms breeder and trainer John Nerud suffered a terrible fall from a stable pony and suffered a subdural hemorrhage which was putting pressure on his brain. He traveled to Boston, where he had been worked on by the very best neurosurgeon about the east shore who saved his life. That doctor was just one Charles Fager, and the horse was named in his honour.
Dr. Fager broke his maiden at first asking by seven lengths and won his next two starts by a combined 20 lengths! His second beginning was The Cowdin Stakes at Aqueduct, also he was the favorite. The good Bill Shoemaker would be riding the horse for the first time and also the high-strung colt was a handful. He broke in the field of ten but was very intent on making up that ground and almost ran over the buddies in front of him while doing so.
Shoemaker needed to test sharply to keep him off the heels of the front runners but when Shoe guided him to the exterior to get a clear run, the horse relaxed, captured in stride and prevailed by 3/4 of a hard earned span. Following the race, Shoemaker said,”He is green, and I suppose this should be anticipated, but this might be a fantastic horse.”
Ten days later Shoemaker and Dr. Fager showed up at Aqueduct for the Champagne Stakes and was made the even-money favored. He wound up getting cooked at a pace duel and suffered his first defeat by only a span to Successor, who would later be termed champion 2-year-old.
Dr. Fager took the next six-months off because of an illness but came back with a vengeance on April 15 to win The Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct by a 1/2 span over the exact demanding Damascus. He won his next start at The Withers Stakes by six-lengths and then traveled to Garden State Park for Your Jersey Derby.
Dr. Fager confronted a little field of four and has been sent as the .30 cent on a dollar preferred. Rider Manny Ycaza was educated by Nerud to deliver Dr. Fager to the lead and improve his position out there and that is precisely what the pair did. Moving wire-to-wire unchallenged, Ycaza guided Dr. Fager into a decisive six-and-a-half span victory. But several horses were banging each other behind the leader and the stewards could have overestimated the involvement of Dr. Fager. He had been shot down and put for”herding,” though he had been clear during the race and was all alone in the cable. The runner-up, In Truth was granted the win.
You couldn’t have a story like that without a bit of a conspiracy factor. Rumor has it that a particular steward named Keene Daingerfield didn’t like Nerud and hated Ycaza due to his aggressive riding strategies. Nerud always felt the disqualification was”prejudiced.”
What makes the disqualification an entire shame is that there weren’t many flaws on Dr. Fager’s album but the rumble in New Jersey was one of them. The colt would go on to win his next 13 of 14 races, his only loss at the sequence happened while running third behind a few decent horses named Damascus and Buckpasser. At the last race of his career, Dr. Fager would take a remarkable 139 lbs., spotting his rivals up to 34 lbs. In The Stakes at Aqueduct. He also won the race by six lengths and set a new history for seven furlongs.
But later that season, Dr. Fager would blow off a tendon and was retired. Only three horses had ever finished facing him, Damascus, Buckpasser and Successor.