« PreviousContinue »
eration has furnished the most perfect tail, and a certain pride and magnifispecimens.
cence of style. Messenger lived to be twenty-eight The trotting horse Bellfounder was years old. For fifteen years he was imported from England in 1823. He owned in the neighborhood of New was a horse of great substance, of reYork, and was held in such estimation markable spirit, and his career in Engthat he probably left a more numerous land was marked by splendid achievefamily than any horse that has ever ments. At three years old he trotted lived. So great has been the impress two miles in six minutes; and when of his wonderful stamina and splendid four years old, ten miles in thirty minform upon the horses of America, that utes. Afterwards he trotted over the those best acquainted with the subject Norfolk Course, seventeen and one half do not hesitate to estimate his value to miles, within an hour, winning a purse of the country at one hundred millions of five hundred guineas. He gave muscle dollars.
and sinew to his progeny, and a BellOf the other horses that have found founder cross appears in the pedigrees ed lines of trotters, Justin Morgan de- of many fine trotting horses. serves to be mentioned first. He was There remain to be mentioned imfoaled in 1793 at Springfield, Mas- ported Trustee, and Sir Henry; Duroc, sachusetts, and when two years old by thorough-bred Diomed; Glencoe, was taken to Vermont. His sire was by Sultan; and the French horses True Briton, a fine horse ridden by Pilot and Royal George. These last General Delancey in the Revolutionary horses were only in part of the original War.
Norman stock; but they had enough of Justin Morgan is described as the blood to show it in their form, in “ low, compact, powerful horse, with a the toughness of their constitution, and proud step, and good lively action.” in their bold trotting action. These qualities he communicated to From the horses that have been here his descendants, who are smooth, easy enumerated all the trotting horses and travellers, and possessed of indomitable most of the road horses in the United perseverance. Fox, one of his colts, States have come. In the case of was driven one hundred and seventy- many trotting horses a pedigree cannot five miles on the road within twenty- be made out; but whenever one is fully four hours. The excellence of the ascertained, it invariably establishes a stock of New England is due to this connection with one or the other of horse and to Hambletonian, a son of them. An exc authority cla Messenger.
that no great trotter has been produced The Bashaws are descended from whose pedigree, when traced for four two imported Arabian horses. The generations, does not show a connecfirst, known as Bashaw, was bred by tion with imported Messenger. the Emperor of Morocco, by whom he This record proves the immense inwas presented to the Dey of Algiers, fluence of a few good horses upon the and finally, through the Swedish Con- stock of a nation, and attests also sul, found his way to this country about the superior qualities of the English the year 1768.
All the horses here mentioned Grand Bashaw was imported from are of the Arabian and English thorTripoli in 1820. Andrew Jackson, Kem- ough-bred stock, except the French ble Jackson, Long Island Black Hawk, horses, and even they are known to Henry Clay, Lantern, and George M. have had a strong infusion of the blood. Patchen are of his descendants, al- From the vast hordes of wild horses though all of them are more or less de- which roamed over the plains of Texas, rived from Messenger. The Bashaws Mexico, and South America, not a are characterized by fine size, hand- single animal equal in size, speed, and some head and neck, full mane and enduring power to these English horses.
and their direct descendants has ever its characteristics. The history of the been bred.
English horse and turf is full of interThe first public trotting race in est. Such was the importance that America, of which there is any record, Edward III. attached to good stock, took place in the year 1818. There that he gave a thousand marks for fifty had been for many years previous a Spanish horses, negotiating at the same growing taste for driving the trotting time with the kings of France and horse, and racing, or running, had been Spain for their safe passage by land. popular from the first settlement of the The Stuarts imported many fine horses country; but it was not until that com- from the East, and laid the basis of the paratively recent date that the interest modern thorough-bred stock. Since in trotting culminated in a public ex- their time it has been considered obhibition of it.
ligatory upon royalty to encourage The love of the horse is a part of the breeding and racing, and even Parliabirthright of Americans, as the off- ment adjourns in honor of the Derby. spring of a people who for centuries As a recent writer in an English magahave been devoted to the sports of the zine says: “It is an undoubted neturf, and whose patriotism and pride cessity that Englishmen should have a have co-operated with their love of national pastime, capable of affording pleasure in the cultivation and im- amusement to all classes, enacted in the provement of a national stock. As open air, devoid of all taint of cruelty, early as the twelfth century a regular and conducted, as far as possible, with race-course was established in London; the rules of fair play. That want rathis being none other than Smithfield. cing supplies ; and when the national Fitzstephen, who lived at that period, amusements of other times and peoples gives the following quaint account of are reviewed, it will be found a difficult the contests between the palfreys of the task to dispute, successfully, the claim, day: “When a race is to be run by that the English turf is the noblest horses which in their kind are strong pastime in which any nation, ancient or and fleet, a shout is raised, and com- modern, has ever indulged.” mon horses are ordered to withdraw The love of the national sport was from without the way. Two jockeys, strongly implanted in the breasts of then, or sometimes three, as the match those Englishmen who settled Virginia may be made, prepare themselves for and other southern and southwestern the contest, - such as are used to ride, portions of the United States. They and know how to manage their horses imported the best English horses, and with judgment; the grand point being the time early came when every planter to prevent a competitor from getting kept his stud. As the country was before them. The horses on their part sparsely settled, and wagon-roads unare not without emulation. They trem- cut, the horse and saddle furnished the ble, and are impatient, and continually principal means of communication with in motion. At last, the signal once neighbors and towns, and to be well given, they hurry along with unremit- mounted became one of the distinting velocity; the jockeys, inspired with guishing marks of social position. the thoughts of applause and the hopes The stage-coach came afterward, and of victory, clapping spurs to their will- the railroad; and travelling on horseing steeds, brandishing their whips, back gradually ceased, but not until and cheering them with their cries.” the taste for using the horse under the Youatt adds, that this description, with saddle had become thoroughly estabthe exception of the cries, might form lished, and yearly meetings for racing part of the record of a modern race at in the English style had become popuEpsom, in the columns of a morning lar. paper, — so national is the English sport Passing over Colonial times, and the of horse-racing, and so unchanged are period immediately following the Revolution, we come upon the period when corous use before the rude vehicles racing reached the highest point of which carried their families to meeting popularity. For a period of over twen- was the nearest approach which they ty-five years every city and considera- made to modern pleasure - driving. ble town, from New York to Florida, Harnessed before their “one-horse from Cairo to Balize, and all through shays,” a horse possessing the speed the valley of the Mississippi, had bien- of Flora Temple or Dexter would be nial meetings, in which the most dis- brought down to an orthodox amble. tinguished men of the time took part. Thus it came that driving the horse The leading politicians of the South before vehicles of varying degrees of were foremost in patronizing the turf. clumsiness generally prevailed in New The efforts of General Jackson to im- England; whence it has gradually prove the stock of Kentucky, and his spread over the country, displacing the fondness for racing, are fully set forth use of the horse under the saddle, and in his biography by Mr. Parton. The furnishing another evidence of the comnames of Sir Henry, American Eclipse, plete predominance of Puritan influence Ariel, Black Maria, Gray Eagle, Bos- in the country. The habit of driving ton, and Fashion will render this period led naturally to the cultivation of trotin American turf-annals forever illus- ting; that gait being the easiest for the trious.
horse in harness, and the most unobBut racing had its origin in the South- trusive and agreeable to the driver. ern States. Virginia and Kentucky There exists but a scanty record of were the great nurseries of the running the early trotting horses and their horse. The principal race-courses were achievements. The first sporting-paper near Southern capitals ; and although, published in America, “ The Turf Regin the great race on Union Course, Long ister," was first issued September 1, Island, in 1823, between Sir Henry and 1829. This monthly journal was alAmerican Eclipse, the North was suc- most entirely devoted to the thoroughcessful, in the main the greatest suc- bred running horse and racing; and, cess in breeding running horses, as during the first two or three years of well as the greatest popularity of the its existence, trotting was. barely mensport, was at the South.
tioned in its pages. As has been statIf the English love of the horse was ed, the first public trotting race took shared by the Puritan settlers of New place in 1818. In that year the horse England at all, it did not show itself in Boston Blue trotted at Boston, in a patronage of the turf. On the contra- match against time, a mile within three ry, they regarded racing and all its ac- minutes (the exact time is unknown), companiments with peculiar aversion. which was reckoned a very great perTheir creed and lives, indeed their very formance. In 1824, Albany Pony trotexpatriation formed a protest against ted a mile on the Jamaica turnpike in the habits and principles of those of 2 m. 40 s., which shows a considerable their countrymen at home with whom advance in speed in the six years which the maintenance of the turf was the first had intervened. object of life. Nor was the exhilarating The performances of Top Gallant ride in the saddle in harmony with the were so extraordinary, and he was in Puritan temper. It was tainted with every respect such a superior horse, incitements whose direct tendency was that a more complete record of him the race-course. Their settlements cov- has been handed down than of any of ered a narrower field, and consequent- the old-time trotters. He was foaled ly there was not the same demand for in 1808, but trotted his principal races the horse for use in travelling as at after he was twenty years old. Hiram the South. It was as an assistant in Woodruff, who rode him at his exthe labors of agriculture that they found ercise, thus describes him : “Top him principally serviceable. His de- Gallant was a dark bay, fifteen hands, three inches high; plain, and raw- This record of performances would boned; but with rather a fine head and be creditable to the trotting horse in neck, and an eye expressive of much any year of his history. It illustrates courage. His spirit was very high, the general character of all the trotting and his bottom was of the finest and races of the early time. They were as toughest quality.” In 1828, in a four- much a test of endurance as of speed, mile race against Whalebone over the and were seldom of less than two, and Hunting Park Course, Philadelphia, he frequently of three and four miles. trotted four heats * of four miles each, Races were trotted in which the enin ii m. 16 s., II m. 6 s., 11 m. 17 S., durance of horses was taxed to the ut12 m. 15 s., the whole sixteen miles in termost, and the tasks most commonly 45 m. 44 s. In 1830, when twenty-two imposed would render completely worthyears old, he trotted twelve miles over less one half of the trotting horses of the same course in 38 minutes ; and in the present day. Speed has been cul1831, on the same ground, two miles in tivated to the neglect of bottom, and 5 m. 195.
what has been gained in swiftness has A correspondent of the « English been lost in staying power. Sporting Magazine," writing of the trot- In this respect, the course of trotting ting horses at the Hunting Park Course in America is analogous to that of in 1829, mentions Top Gallant first, as racing in England. The English rafollows:
cers of half a century ago partook of “ Top Gallant, by Hambletonian, he the characteristic excellence of the Oriby Messenger, trotted twelve miles in ental horses, from whom they were deharness in 38 minutes; and three miles, rived, — which was that, in addition to under saddle, in 8 m. 31 s. He is now their speed, they possessed extraordinineteen years old, and can trot a mile nary powers of endurance. Such horses with one hundred and fifty pounds in as Bay Middleton, Glencoe, Mameluke, 2 m. 45 S.
The Baron, Pyrrhus the First, Blair “Betsey Baker, by Mambrino, he by Athol, Wild Dayrell, Lanercost, and Messenger, beat Top Gallant three Harkaway, and the mares Catherina, miles, under saddle, carrying one hun- Beeswing, and Alice Hawthorn, are dred and fifty pounds, in 8 m. 16 s. not now found upon the English turf, This mare, when sound, could trot and it is doubtful if ever they will be twenty miles within the hour.
found there again. An English writer “ Trouble, by Hambletonian, a horse on the present condition of the turf of good bottom, trotted two miles in says: “There is not a six-year-old 5 m. 25 s.
now in training in England to whom “Sir Peter, by Hambletonian, trotted any of these four (Lanercost, Harkathree miles in harness in 8m. 16s.
way, Beeswing, and Alice Hawthorn) “Whalebone, by Hambletonian, trot- could not at the same age have given ted three miles in 8 m. 18 s. These two, a stone and a beating over the Beacon Sir Peter and Whalebone, can be Course." matched either against Rattler or Tom The“Turf Register” of March, 1834, Thumb, now in England, for any copies from a Philadelphia paper the amount."
following comments on a race which (Tom Thumb trotted, in England, took place at Trenton, N. J., in which 16.5 miles, in harness, in 56 m. 45 s., the horse Edwin Forrest trotted a mile and 100 miles in 9h. 30 m.)
in 2 m. 36 s., and Columbus, in 2 m. 37 s.: “Screwdriver, by Mount Holly, he “The improvement of the trotting by Messenger, in a race with Betsey horse is engaging the attention of some Baker, trotted two three-mile heats in of the best sporting characters in the 8 m. 2 s., and 8 m. 10 s.”
country. We believe our State boasts A heat is one continuous effort, either in running of the best trotters in the Union. New or trotting.
York is nearly as good as our own. It
is, in our opinion, a sport which should of the triumphs of the trotting horse, be encouraged."
is equally distinguished as the birthThe horses Edwin Forrest and Co- place of some of the most celebrated. lumbus were the best trotting horses of Messenger was kept at its western extheir time. The first trotted on Long tremity, and his blood was dissemiIsland, in 1834, a mile in 2 m. 31 s., nated over the whole island. From which was then the best time ever one of his descendants, Engineer, came made. He was afterward beaten by Lady Suffolk, for many years the unDaniel D. Tompkins, a New England questioned mistress of the trottinghorse, in a great race for ten thousand turf. She was bred in Suffolk County, dollars. Columbus was the first horse whence her name, and when three to trot three miles in less than eight years old was purchased by David minutes.
Bryant, from the farmer who raised her, The celebrated horse Dutchman for ninety dollars. She was a gray, made his appearance on the turf in raw-boned, slab-sided, homely animal; 1833. His pedigree was never ascer- but deep in the chest and muscular in tained. In his work on the trotting the arms and quarters, which enabled horse, Hiram Woodruff says of him: her to keep up a wonderfully long and “For the combined excellences of clearing stride. Her first appearance speed, bottom, and constitutional vigor, on the turf was in 1838, when she was equal to the carrying on of a long cam- five years old. From that time she paign and improving on it, Dutchman was kept steadily at work for sixteen has had few, if any, equals, and cer- years, trotting one hundred and sixtytainly no superior.” In 1836 he was one races, of which she won eightyentered in sweepstakes with Fanny eight. Her owner, though devotedly Pullen and Confidence. Fanny Pullen attached to her, did not use the diswas the dam of Trustee, the first horse cretion in her management which is to trot twenty miles within an hour. necessary to secure success, even with Confidence was a handsome bay horse, the most reliable animals; so, despite afterwards purchased for the well- her extraordinary speed and bottom, known English horseman, Mr. Osbalde- the list of her defeats is nearly as long stone, and taken out of the country. as that of her victories. She was beatDutchman won the race in 5 m. 17} s. en by Dutchman, Repton, Lady Vicand 5 m. 18), s. He afterwards beat tory, Lafayette, Independence, Aaron Lady Suffolk in two straight two-mile Burr, and by Americus in a great fiveheats in 5 m. II S. and 5 m. 13 S. His mile race which came off on the Cenrace with Rattler, a horse that Hiram treville Course in the fall of 1841. Woodruff declared to be the best trot- That same year she beat Dutchman ter ever taken to England, was one of on the Hunting Park Course, Philathe most closely contested and best delphia, trotting three miles in 7 m. three - mile
The year before, the same eleven imaces ever trotted. For 40. s.
the horses were never horse had beaten her easily in 7m. clear of each other; and when Dutch- 51 S. She had steadily improved from man left Rattler in the twelfth, it was the time of her first appearance, alby inches only. In 1839, on the Bea- though she had been driven in races con Course, New Jersey, Dutchman of two and three miles every season, made his great and imperishable rec- until it was a cause of surprise that her ord of three miles in 7 m. 32 s. He legs were strong enough to bear her trotted one mile of this race in 2 m. up at all. Anything of less steel-like 28 s., which was the best one-mile time fibre would have given way, and the that had then been made, as the three- trotting-turf been deprived of one of its mile time is the best made up to the greatest ornaments. present writing.
In 1842 she beat Ripton in a twoLong Island, the scene of so many mile race, in harness, in 5 m. 10 s. and