Hambletonian hămbəltōˈnēən [key], 1849–76, American trotting horse, foaled at Chester, N.Y. Originally owned by Jonas Seely, Hambletonian was bought for little money by Bill Rysdyk and won few honors as a trotting horse. But Hambletonian, a very muscular bay with well-formed hind legs, became the foundation sire of the strain of trotting horses bearing his name. The Hambletonian Association, formed in 1923 to promote trotting races, offered a stake for three-year-old trotters. Named for Rysdyk's horse and inaugurated in 1926 in Syracuse, N.Y., the Hambletonian is the sport's most prestigious event. Its subsequent hosts were Lexington, Ky., Goshen, N.Y., Du Quoin, Ill., and, since 1981, the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J.

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