Color advertising print of a trotting horse (Lady Suffolk) with a jockey in the saddle.
A color advertising print of a trotting grey mare and jockey. The background is grained.
Lady Suffolk, known as the “Old Gray Mare,” was foaled in 1833 in Smithtown, Suffolk County, Long Island. Her sire was Young Engineer, making her a descendent of the famous thoroughbred Messenger who had founded the Standardbred breed; her dam was Jenny. David Bryant purchased the mare in 1835 and they remained together until 1851. She entered her first race in 1838 ridden by Hiram Woodruff. Lady Suffolk trotted in 161 races between 1838 and 1854, winning 88 of them and earning over $35,000 in purse money. In her prime she traveled through the major cities, appearing from Boston to New Orleans. However, in the last six years of her career, she raced only seven times because harness racing had begun to replace under saddle trotting. In 1843, ridden by Albert Conklin, Lady Suffolk was the first trotter to go the mile in under 2:30, which made her the first “Queen of the Turf.” This feat reduced the 1834 record by almost five seconds, coming in at 2:26 ½. Her popularity was greatly due to William T. Porter, who used his weekly newspaper, The Spirit of the Times, to publicize her exploits. She died in 1855 in Vermont and was eventually inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame as an “Immortal” in 1967.