Nancy Hanks (1886 – August 16, 1915) was an undefeated Standardbred trotting mare named for Abraham Lincoln's mother. She was the first 2:05 trotter in harness-racing history.[1]

She was foaled in 1886 on what is now known as Poplar Hill Farm, near Lexington, Kentucky. Bred by Hart Boswell, she was sired by Happy Medium; her dam, Nancy Lee, was by Dictator.

While owned by John Malcolm Forbes, on September 28, 1892, the brown mare trotted a mile in 2 minutes and 4 seconds at Terre Haute's Four Cornered Track with a bicycle sulky, breaking all Sunol's mark of 2 minutes 8.25 seconds set in 1891.[2] Nancy Hanks lost one race heat (in her first start), but was undefeated in her races. She was inducted into the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in 1955.[3]

Nancy Hanks died on August 16, 1915, at age 29, and is buried in the Hamburg Place equine cemetery.[4] A statue of her was created by sculptor Charles Cary Rumsey.

A passenger train from Atlanta to Savannah from 1947 to 1971 was named in her honor.

Poem about Nancy Hanks Racehorse and Cyclists in 1892


  1. ^ "To The First Ladies of Harness Racing". Harness Racing Standardbred Community. Retrieved February 25, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "The Two-Minute Trotter" (PDF). New York Times. December 9, 1892. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
  3. ^ "The Horse Immortals: Gr–Ni". Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
  4. ^ "Nancy Hanks through Kenneth Owen inductees". Harness Racing Hall of Fame: US North. Retrieved February 25, 2013.[permanent dead link]