Rachel L. Dancer dies in Florida at age 83

11:29 PM 17 May 2013 NZST
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Rachel L. Dancer, one of harness racing's leading standardbred owners of champion horses during her marriage to the late Harness Racing Hall of Famer Stanley Dancer, died May 16 in Pompano Beach, Fla., at the age of 83.

She would have been 84 on May 21.

Born in Paulsboro, NJ, in 1929, Rachel (Young) Dancer, lived most of her life in New Egypt, NJ, on the grounds of the Dancer Farm known as Egyptian Acres, until moving to Florida. She had been living in Lighthouse Point, Fla., until she moved to Pompano Beach several months ago.

She is the mother of New Jersey State Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer, a former mayor of Plumsted Township, and three other children, Susan (Dancer) Moyher of Hndersonville, NC, Shaldonna Lee (Dancer) Chaisson of Port St. Lucie, FL, and Richard Dancer, of Pompano Beach, FL; nine grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Shortly after they were married on Sept. 21, 1947, Rachel and Stanley, with money Rachel had saved for college, purchased their first horse for $250, a gelding with bad tendons named Candor, sired by Scotland. Candor began racing in 1948 and earned $12,000 in purse money over the next three years.

Rachel also was the co-owner of numerous champion standardbred racehorses, including three Hambletonian winners, Egyptian Candor (1965), Super Bowl (1972) and Bonefish (1975). She owned three Little Brown Jug winners, Lehigh Hanover (1962), Most Happy Fella (1970) and Keystone Ore (1976). Super Bowl and Most Happy Fella were Triple Crown winners and horses of the year, while Keystone Ore was a horse of the year. She was the breeder of Egyptian Candor.

In a twist of fate in the 1965 Hambletonian, Egyptian Candor was driven to victory by another Hall of Famer, Del Cameron. Stanley Dancer had opted to drive Noble Victory, who had trouble with an off track that day and finished third. Second place went to Armbro Flight, driven by another Hall of Famer Joe O’Brien.

Rachel also co-owned with Stanley the 1978 New Jersey Standardbred of the Year, Mistletoe Shalee, named for their daughter who is affectionately called Shalee. The filly, bred and foaled at Egyptian Acres, was so special that a run-in shed and paddock was built at the end of a new garage added to their Egyptian Acres house so Shalee could watch the horse close-up. Rachel noted this allowed her young daughter to go outside and give sugar cubes to the filly.

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In 65 starts, Mistletoe Shalee won 38 races and was second 13 times and third six times, earning $502,510. She dominated the top fillies and mares at The Meadowlands and won such prominent races as the Jugette, Tarport Hap, Adioo Volo and Lady Maud.

Rachel served several years as a member and chair of the New Jersey Sire Stakes Board of Trustees and cohosted New Jersey Sire Stakes Fair Meets for many years.

Funeral arrangements will be private.

by Leon ZIMMERMAN

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