► Harry Bassett won both the Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes and owned a 14-race win streak (NMR Collection)
Harry Bassett was one of the most accomplished and popular Thoroughbreds of the 19th century. A son of the mighty sire Lexington, Harry Bassett was a champion as a 2-year-old in 1870, an unbeaten champion as a 3-year-old, and a top handicapper at age 4. He possessed tremendous stamina and won many of the most prestigious races of his day.
Bred by A.J. Alexander and raised at Woodburn Farm in Kentucky, Harry Bassett was owned and trained by Col. David McDaniel. After finishing third in his debut, Harry Bassett won the final three starts of his 2-year-old campaign. He broke his maiden in the one-mile Kentucky Stakes at Saratoga and then bested 14 rivals in the Nursery Stakes at Jerome Park before capping the year with a victory in the Supper Stakes at Pimlico.
Harry Bassett was unstoppable as a 3-year-old, winning all nine of his races. He began his sophomore campaign with a victory in the Belmont Stakes on June 10, 1871 and enjoyed a brilliant summer by winning the Jersey Derby, Travers Stakes and Kenner Stakes. His victories during that span ranged from 1½ to 2 miles.
That autumn, Harry Bassett won the Champion Stakes (2 miles) and defeated older horses at distances of 1¾ miles and 2½ miles. He then bested 5-year-old standout Hembold in the Bowie Stakes at Pimlico in straight four-mile heats. The first four miles were run in 7:54¾ (1:56¼, 1:58¾, 1:58¼ and 2:01½), and the second four miles in 8:03½ (2:02½, 2:01½, 2:00 and 1:59½). Since Harry Bassett won the first two heats, there was no need for a third.
As a 4-year-old, Harry Bassett pushed his win streak to 14 before he was defeated in the Monmouth Cup by Longfellow. Harry Bassett rebounded to win a race at Saratoga on July 13, 1872, and then obtained revenge on Longfellow in the 2¼-mile Saratoga Cup three days later, setting a record time of 3:59. He won two more races at Saratoga that summer, giving him 17 victories in an 18-race span.
The grueling schedule and distances finally caught up to Harry Bassett that fall and he was never the same. He won only three of his final 12 starts before being retired.
Harry Bassett completed his career with a record of 23-5-3 from 36 starts and earnings of $55,920.
Harry Bassett was inducted in the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in 2010.