August 14, 1867 -- Dexter is one of the greatest names in the history of harness racing. His father was Hambletonian, and he is said to be the inspiration for the horse that is atop weathervanes across the country.
As you may have guessed by now, one of his greatest moments came in Western New York.
Dexter was born in 1858 and proved to be a free spirit. He was gelded to calm him down, and it worked. In 1865, Dexter only lost one start, a match race with Lady Thorn. The following year, the horse won 25 of 26 starts.
Then in 1867, Dexter came to the Buffalo Fairgrounds on this date. He trotted a mile in 2:17.25, a world record -- breaking his own mark by almost two seconds.
Yet that might not have been his most impressive mile. One time in 1868 Dexter ran a mile in 2:21.75 ... while pulling 319 pounds of weight between the wagon and driver.
General Ulysses S. Grant got to drive Dexter in 1868, and was so taken with him that Grant immediately offered to buy the horse. Owner Robert Bonner turned the deal down.
Dexter died in 1888 and was buried near Tarrytown. The Dexter Cup is still held at Freehold Raceway in New Jersey.
--- Budd Bailey