Lexington : Race Horse
Lexington is likely one of the most famous racehorses that has ever lived. He was a beautiful bay that stood at 15 hands and 3 inches and was born in 1850. Lexington was sired by Boston and from the mare Alice Carneal. This amazing racehorse was bred for Dr Elisha Warfield, who named him Darley. The then Darley was trained by a former slave, known as Burbridge's Harry, who became a renowned trainer. Darley could not be entered into races by Burbridges, due to him being black, and ran under Dr Elisha Warfields name. His first two races he won with ease and it was at these races that Richard Ten Broeck saw Darley, and approached Dr Warfield to make a price for the horse. Richard Ten Broeck bought Darley and renamed him Lexington.
After Ten Broeck had acquired Lexington, he sent his new racehorse to be trained by J.B. Prior in Mississippi. Lexington was entered into four-mile races at the tender age of three and four, and the four-mile races were long, exhausting and grueling. He raced in seven events, of which he won six and secured a second place in the seventh. He was the most popular and impressive racehorse during his racing days, and on 2 April 1855, Lexington was raced against the clock. He complete four miles in just seven minutes and 19 ¾ seconds, which was a record speed that he held for more than twenty years. Unfortunately in 1855, just as his sire Boston did, Lexington started going blind. This put and end to his racing career and left him standing at the Nantura Stock Farm for a lengthy amount of time.
Robert A. Alexander, paid $15,000 to purchase Lexington, which at that time, was the highest price to have been paid for a racehorse. Alexander moved Lexington to his Woodburn Farm, that was located in Kentucky, and it was here that Lexington really became famous. He was the sire to many race winners and famous racehorses. He was lovingly known as The Blind Hero of Woodburn, and his sons and daughters were winners of the Travers Stakes, nine winners within the first fifteen races ever run. Lexington sired Tom Ochiltree that won the Preakness Stakes in 1875, Shirley that won in 1876 and the Duke of Magenta that won in 1878. The Duke of Magenta, who was the last horse he sired, also won the Travers Stakes, Belmont Stakes and Withers Stakes. One of his most famous offspring must be the horse Cincinnati. Cincinnati was the favorite horse of General Ulysses S. Grant. Grant, together with this trusted steed, can be seen in various statues today. When the American Civil War broke out, Alexander hid Lexington, to avoid this great horse being used in the bloody battles.
Lexington passed away on 1 July 1875, at the farm that had become his home, Woodburn Farm. Alexander buried his beloved horse in front of his stables, but was convinced to donate Lexingtons’ bones to United States National Museum in 1978. In 1955, Lexington was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.