The 1800s Thoroughbred Lexington had a profound influence in the breeding shed of the Thoroughbred industry. One of his sons, Harry Bassett, shared a contemporary stage with historic figures such as Queen Victoria, Ulysses S. Grant, P.T. Barnum, Susan B. Anthtony, Jesse James, and even a famous cow owned by Mrs. O’Leary.
Harry Bassett’s sire left a huge legacy. Lexington fathered a colt named Preakness, winner of the first Dinner Party Stakes, which was later renamed for its initial victor. He continued to breed three Preakness Stakes winners of the 1800s, Tom Ochiltree (1875), a bay gelding named Shirley (1876), and Duke of Magenta (1878), as well as grand- or great-grandsiring 15 Kentucky Derby winners, including Aristides, the Derby’s historic first winner.
Within this broad scenario Harry Bassett was foaled in 1868, a son of Lexington out of Canary Bird, by Albion. He grew to a large speciman of 16.5 hands and 1,300 pounds.
Harry Bassett Is Choice of the Historic Review Committee
The National Museum Racing Hall of Fame Historic Review Committee was brought into action, as well as the Steeplechase Committee, to review accomplishments of Thoroughbreds and members of the Thoroughbred industry of pre-modern years and to recommend those established records for award purposes.
Harry Bassett’s record as a registered Thoroughbred merited such review, as suggested by the committee.
Unbeaten in nine starts at age three, Harry Bassett won 20 of his first 24 races and 23 of 36 career contests. His total record included five seconds and three thirds as well.
In track earnings, Harry Bassett bankrolled $55,920 for his owner, Colonel David McDaniel. Harry Bassett originally sold for $315 at the Woodburn Stud sale as a yearling. It would take about $5,100 in today’s market to equal that value.
The Belmont Stakes, the Travers Stakes, the Jersey Derby, and the Saratoga Cup were among the races Harry Bassett won in his prime.
Colonel McDaniel was also Harry Bassett’s trainer. The colt was bred in Kentucky by A. J. Alexander.
Hall of Fame Induction at Saratoga
Retired jockey Gary Stevens served as a past honoree speaker at the National Museum and Racing Hall of Fame 2010 induction ceremonies held at Saratoga Springs, New York on August 13.
The other two Historic Review Committee inductees were jockey Don Pierce and a trainer Pierce often worked for, M.E. “Buster” Millerick.
The four contemporary inductees elected by the 182 NMR’s Hall of Fame members were jockey Randy Romero and Thoroughbreds Azeri, Best Pal, and Point Given, who was ridden regularly by Stevens.