Messenger was a grey thoroughbred stallion. Messenger has crosses to all three of the Thoroughbred foundation sires, particularly Godolfin Arabian. Messanger's sire was a trotter but Messenger was never used in a trotting race. However, his great grandson, Hambletonian became the father of American Trotters and Pacers so I guess he kept that talent and passed it on. For more information on Hambletonian, read my post on December 15, 2010.
Messenger was bred in England. There, he started in 16 flat races and won ten of them. Messenger's races, usually less than two and half miles, were mainly "match" races in which the side bets far exceeded the purse.
In May 1788 Sir Thomas Benger imported Messenger to Pennsylvania. In 1793, Messenger was sold to Henry Astor. According to an article in Wikipedia, "Messenger was once advertised in a Philadelphia newspaper as: Available for service: Inquiries to be made to a certain Alexander Clay at the sign of the Black Horse in Market Street." I love little bits of history like that. It makes a famous horse like Messenger seem so real!
Messenger became a very successful stud and produced great race horses. Messenger was bred throughout Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersy. The mares he was bred with were not of the highest quality, but even so he proved himself a superior stallion, siring a great many successful thoroughbred racehorses. One example is Messenger's daughter, Miller's Damsel, also known as "Queen of the American Turf." His genes can also be found in the American Saddlebred and Tennessee Walking horses. Messenger died on January 8, 1808 at the age of 28. He is buried on Long Island.
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