Crews Successfully Unearth Native Diver Remains at Hollywood Park

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The Native Diver monument at Hollywood Park The Native Diver monument at Hollywood Park

Crews working at Hollywood Park have discovered the grave of Native Diver, the California-bred winner of three Hollywood Gold Cups who is buried near the track’s walking ring.

After Hollywood closed and construction plans began to move forward for the land, officials decided to move Native Diver’s remains to Del Mar. Experts and witnesses to Native Diver’s burial had expressed doubt as to how easily his bones could be located, and whether it would be possible to exhume many at all without careful work by an archaeologist.

Daily Racing Form reported that work began on the grave on Thursday. Approximately eight feet down underneath the monument, crews using a backhoe found a bone fragment. Proceeding with their hands, they then discovered four ribs. Work has halted now that the grave has been located, and a plan is in place to remove the horse as carefully as possible, according to Richard Shapiro. Shapiro is the grandson of L.K. Shapiro, original owner of Native Diver.

Read more at the Daily Racing Form

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  • Zaffiro

    Wonderful news.

  • Delrene from Carlsbad, Ca

    I hope the removal goes through without any problems and that he will be laid to rest in Del Mar. I hope there will be some notice of a ceremony to let those who wish to pay their respects may attend. thank you for keeping us informed.

  • Allan Buck

    Fantastic. Such a great horse to honored once again.

  • Charlotte Farmer

    My comment didn’t post so I will try again. Thanks to Kip Hannan of Hollywood Park excavation was stopped before damage could be done to the remains by the backhoe. He pointed out that they needed to go slow and do it right; have an archeologist present. It is my understanding that they took his advice.

  • swiss305

    What about Landaluce? Wasn’t she buried in the infield?

    • Bob C

      Landaluce was buried at Hollywood but was reinterred at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky.

  • Stephanie

    Great news

  • Bellwether

    ty for the follow up on this…

  • Randy Hare

    As a girl growing up i would go to the races with my dad and what an image to catch my attention that beautiful black speed ball. i was there when he won his 3rd Gold Cup and then when he paraded in front of the fans before the meet was over. The next thing I remember was reading in the paper he was dead and i cried like a baby. There were few like him nowadays we are lucky if a horse starts 5 times a year. He was and will always be my favorite!!!!!

  • Susan Crane-Sundell

    Are they going to leave the memorial on site and build around it? Those mosaics really ought to be preserved. The monument itself really has value for racing history.

  • LaraH2

    i was not familiar with native diver so i looked him up. the wikipedia article contained an interesting fact or recounting.

    >>At a young age, Native Diver injured his back and therefore often ran while holding his head high to ease the strain on his spine. He was gelded to calm him down, but it seemed to make little difference.<<

    so, they had a horse with an injured spine and in pain, so they continued to race him – for money i presume. this is how well horses are taken care of.

    i don't see how much has changed.

    • santacruzchuck

      LaraH2, What efforts have you made to initiate, or facilitate changes in horse racing?

    • Charlotte Farmer

      LauraH2 ~ Mr. and Mrs. L. K. Shapiro loved Diver; it was never about money. They loved that horse beyond anything you can possibly imagine. Diver did what he wanted and that was to run like the wind and his legendary jockey Jerry Lambert let Diver do just that. Jerry was so found of saying I just sat there and let him run his race . . . Diver was just getting better with age when he developed colic and died; all of his fans mourned a horse who struck terror into a field of horses that ran against him. NO, it was never about money NOR would his trainer Buster Millerick have raced him if he had shown signs of distress. Diver was pampered beyond what the word describes. Racing is trying to clean up the darkside but it takes time. Do you help when it comes to horse rescues or sanctuaries where horses can live out their lives in a safe environment? Only asking; it is easy to throw stones but people can make a difference all they have to do it put forth the effort.

      Soon this chapter of Diver closes and he will leave Hollypark for the last time to grace a track where he wowed his fans. Sportscaster Gil Stratton described Diver best when he called him, “Lightning in a Bott.” As for the memorial; from what I have been reading Del Mar plans to remove the tile and create a new memorial that will best fit their track. As for Landaluce and Great Communicator they have left Hollypark; Luce to Spendthrift and Communicator to Old Friends.

      • Charlotte Farmer

        I meant “Lightning in a Bottle”

    • Jay

      Don’t believe everything you read in Wikipedia.

  • Vickie

    ANY Updates???

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