Old Henry Clay : Race Horse
Old Henry Clay was 15 ¼ hands in height, and was born in 1837 on Long Island. He was often referred to as the “Father of American Trotting Horses” or even “America’s National Thoroughbred Trotting Horse”. Old Henry Clay was bought by Colonel William W. Wadsworth of New York, who resided in Livingston County. This elegantly beautiful horse is well known for his bloodline and the offspring that he sired. The Americo-Arab, which is listed first in the American Arabian stud book listing, are said to be direct descendants from Arabian Horses that were crossed with Old Henry Clay's descendants.
Randolph Huntington was a great admirer of the horse, Old Henry Clay. People had also reported that Old Henry Clay had amazing strength and endurance, and was able to pull a buggy, with five passengers, comfortably at a trot, over a distance of approximately 75 miles. This was an amazing display of fitness and a demonstration of elegance that was combined with endurance. The Henry Clay bloodline possessed all the features and characteristics that made a perfect American horse, and an even more desirable trotting horse.
After serving his years as a trotting horse that was admired and loved, while having achieved a measure of fame, Old Henry Clay was retired from his working life, and lived out the remainder of his days as a breeding stallion. The horse that was known as the “Father of American Trotting Horses” passed away in 1867, in Lodi, New York. He left behind his bloodline and the legacy of being America’s National Thoroughbred Trotting Horse.
It was only through his trading of horses that Randolph Huntington started to realize the worth and the importance of the Henry Clay bloodline that was disappearing at a rapid rate. He started buying descendants of Old Henry Clay, and managed to get his hands on the most desirable sons, daughters and granddaughters of Henry Clay. The Clay bloodline was the most sought after and best bloodline of its day, and Huntington came to the conclusion that the rare qualities that are found in the Clay bloodline, are the result of Arabian horses that were bred with Young Bashaw, Grand Bashaw, Andrew Jackson, and most importantly, Old Henry Clay.
Fourteen years after Old Henry Clay had been laid to rest, his skeleton was exhumed and put on display at the Ward’s Natural Science Establishment. On 22 April 1881, under the protection and supervision of Randolph Huntington, Old Henry Clay was donated to the United States National Museum. Today, only Henry Clay’s mandible and parts of his skeleton have remained, and are looked after and safely stored away at the Smithsonian Museum Support Centre, as part of their research collection.