Hall of Fame


leland stanford

Year of Birth: 
Elected as Immortal: 
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Leland Stanford was born near Albany, New York in 1824. In 1852 he went West (just after the 1849 gold rush) and made his fortune. Because of his love of trotting horses and interest in breeding, Stanford started a farm in Palo Alto, California in 1875, which later would become the site of Stanford University. His first champion, Occident 2:16 3/4, laid the foundation of his breeding farm which included 11,000 acres. (A track was added in 1879.) In 1877 he purchased Electioneer for $12,500 from Stony Ford Farm in Campbell Hall, New York near Goshen. While there, he also purchased twelve broodmares. Electioneer sired 600 foals. Stanford never raced horses but strived to produce early speed, which became known as the "Palo Alto System" of training. Leland Stanford was involved in the early days of moving picture technology. As legend has it, he bet a friend $25,000 that the trotter, at one point in its gait, has all hooves off the ground at the same time. Eadweard Muybridge, a geologist working in the area, was called upon to prove the assertion. By a series of fast action still photographs, Stanford's theory was proved and he won the bet. Muybridge's Study in Animal Locomotion, the study of the gait and motion of the horse and other animals had begun; his first subject was the Standardbred horse. Leland Stanford died in 1893.

Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 1994 book, The Immortals