On September 8, 2005, the harness racing world lost a legend and Plumsted Township lost a beloved son. Stanley F. Dancer, father of Assemblyman and Plumsted Township Mayor Ron Dancer, passed away peacefully in his sleep. He was called home to the Lord at the age of 78 after a studded career in the harness racing industry.
According to the US Trotting Association, Dancer was the only horseman, thoroughbred or standbred, to drive and train three Triple Crown winners - Nevele Pride in 1968 and Super Bowl in 1972 for trotting, and Most Happy Fella in 1970 for pacing. He drove winners in 23 Triple Crown races, a record that stood for 20 years.
In addition, he trained five Hambletonian winners - also driving to four of the titles and guided four Little Brown Jug champions. Four of his trained horses - Keystone Ore, Albatross, Nevele Pride and Su Mac Lad - combined for a total of seven Horse of the Year titles. He earned his 3,781st and last win as a driver in 1995 at Garden State Park.
He was also a White House guest of President Johnson in 1968 and was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated the same year. He also appeared as a guest on the Ed Sullivan show.
He won his first race at the age of 17 and continued to train and drive for the next 50 years. He suffered 32 spills during his career and paid the price for those injuries later in life, according to Mayor Dancer, who not only shared a special father-son relationship, but also drove with his Dad on the track.
Dancer spent most of his life at Egyptian Acres - a 100 acre horse farm in New Egypt on which he built a track to train and drive his horses. Pat Gale, former president of the New Egypt Historical Society, stated, "The membership of the New Egypt Historical Society was saddened to learn of the death of Stanley F. Dancer. Stanley, whose accomplishments and contributions to the harness racing industry brought him worldwide fame, was truly gifted in the art of handling horses. He was undoubtably the best in the sport, yet in spite of having achieved such fame, Stanley maintained his reputation as a fair and honest competitor."
The New Egypt Historical Society is proud to invite everyone interested in Stanley's illustrious career to visit the Stanley Dancer Room at our museum on Evergreen Road. We are honored that Stanley and his wife Jody spent many months selecting the items, articles and other racing memorabilia from his career which are currently on display here.