Dexter, who was born in 1858, dominated harness racing from his introduction in 1864 to his retirement in 1867, when he twice lowered the world speed record. He was a powerful horse with a picture-perfect gait and a dramatic and determined head-down style that thrilled crowds, all qualities that are well captured in this contemporary vane.
In September 1867, Robert E. Bonner, the publisher of the weekly story paper The New York Ledger and the owner of a number of other outstanding racehorses, purchased Dexter for $35,000 (just over $1 million in today's currency). Under the publisher's care, the great horse lived until 1888.
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