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  Grave Matters: Hambletonian's Grave, Chester, New York

Photos by Liz Martiniak © ©Liz Martiniak 2003; all rights reserved.

Hambletonian's grave in Chester, New York

CHESTER, NEW YORK is a little town near Goshen, the "Cradle of the American Trotter." The founding father of the Standardbred breed, HAMBLETONIAN (1849-1876), is located here, on Hambletonian Street. Sired by Abdallah and foaled from the lame Charles Kent mare, by Bellfounder, Hambletonian was triply inbred to Messenger. He was purchased, along with his aged dam, by William Rysdyk for $125. He was never officially raced, but was exhibited in a handful of time trials. Rysdyk intended him for a stallion, and began breeding him at the age of three. He got over 1300 foals, including numerous sons that attained racing and breeding fame: Alezander's Abdallah, Volunteer, George Wilkes, Happy Medium, Dexter, Dictator, Sentinel, Electioneer, Strathmore, Messenger Duroc, and Harold. When he died, he was buried in a coffin in the yard of the Rysdyk residence. Many years later, a towering shaft carved of Missouri granite was erected through the efforts of the National Association of Trotting Horse Breeders: 81 donors contributed between $250 and $1, the total collected amounting to $2083. An ornate wrought iron fence was placed around it, and a formal dedication took place in 1893. -- L.M..

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