The Life and Legacy of

Peter The Great



The Life & Legacy of

Peter The Great


         Roxy Publishing

         Copyright 2006

          Terry Motycka

           All rights reserved

Table of Contents

The Forebears

The Early Years

The Racing Years

The Breeding Years

Peter’s Grave & Monuments

Honors & Accolades

Peter’s Progeny


Peter The Great is an honoree in three Halls of Fame: 

National Hall of Fame of the Trotter in Goshen, NY, inducted in 1953.

Michigan Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Okemos, MI, inducted in 1986.

Indiana Standardbred Hall of Fame in Anderson, IN, inducted in 1993.

The author & publishers are grateful to the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, Goshen, New York, copyright holder of The American Trotter by John Hervey, which acknowledges the author’s use of material from that book.


A horse is a horse, of course, of course...

Or so the saying goes.  But this horse was truly a special horse: born in 1895 on a 600-acre horse farm that sat in the middle of the present-day campus of Western Michigan University, the young colt named Peter The Great first earned fame by setting a world record in the top harness race in the nation for three-year old trotters. 

As a four-year old, Peter The Great continued to amaze racing fans with his wins while simultaneously embarking on his career as a sire, a career that made him one of the most renowned sires of all time in the world of harness horse racing.

Kalamazoo was the birthplace of an extraordinary horse whose offspring would come to dominate the harness horse racing world, a world where Peter The Great’s name is still instantly recognized and his fame as a sire well-known. Virtually all of the great trotters of the twentieth century trace directly back to Peter The Great, as do those of today.

Top photo:  Peter The Great at Laurel Hall Farm with his caretaker, Jake Councilman, circa 1918-1923.  Courtesy, U.S. Trotting Association.

Bottom photo:  Peter The Great at Laurel Hall Farm in Indianapolis, circa 1918-1923. Courtesy, U.S. Trotting Association.

Did you know that...

A descendant of Peter The Great is simply referred to as a ‘Peter’.

Peter’s grandson, Greyhound, set a world record in 1938 that was unbroken for nearly 30 years.

The top two world-record holders in the “all ages” racing category in 2006 both trace back to Peter The Great.

Peter’s owner purchased 47 mares to mate with Peter in just two years.

Peter’s progeny are famous in countries such as Sweden, Italy, Germany and Russia.