Date: 5/6/2015 11:25:00 AM
The Messenger Stakes has a long history of tradition and is the third and final race of the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers. The Messenger Stakes was first started in 1956 and was immediately paired with the Little Brown Jug and the Cane Pace to form the Triple Crown. The Messenger Stakes was named to honor that great pacing sire Messenger. The horse was born in 1780 in England and was later sent to the United States. Messenger proved to be one of the greatest sires of pacing race horses and virtually all the pacers seen in today’s sport can be traced back to this magnificent stallion.
When the Messenger stakes was first created, it was hosted by Roosevelt Raceway. The race remained at Roosevelt raceway from 1956 until 1988, when it was forced to change locations due to the closure of the track. For the next several years, the Messenger Stakes was hosted by several different racetracks. For six years between 1989 and 1994, the Messenger Stakes was hosted by several different racetracks including Yonkers Raceway in Yonkers, New York, Freestate Raceway in Maryland and Rosecroft Raceway, also in Maryland. In 1995, the Messenger Stakes move to The Meadows in the Pittsburg, Pennsylvania area. The Messenger Stakes was supposed to move back to Yonkers Raceway in 2004; however, the track was undergoing major renovations and the Messenger Stakes was held at Harrington Raceway in Delaware for the 2004 and 2005 racing season. In 2006, the Messenger Stakes returned to Yonkers Raceway. The great thing about the Messenger Stakes being hosted by Yonkers Raceway is that the race is run on the same night at the final leg of the trotting Triple Crown, which means that there is the potential for harness racing fans to see the crowning of two Triple Crown winners on the same day.
The Messenger Stakes follows the same racing format as the Little Brown Jug, and other harness racing stakes events, in that the race is run in heats. For a horse to be crowned the winner of the Messenger Stakes it will have to win an elimination heat and the finals in the same evening; however, in 2006 the format changed where the elimination heats will be run one week prior to the finals. The last winner of the Triple Crown was No Pan Intended in 2003.
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