Billy the pigeon was only due to fly the 425 miles from Calais to his home in Merseyside in the race three weeks ago.
But he took a remarkable 3,000 mile detour and ended up on New Yorker Joseph Ida's terrace among his flock of 100 racing birds.
"You could see that he had been out," said Mr Ida, who added that Billy looked a little tired, thin and run down.
Saving Billy another marathon journey over the Atlantic, kindhearted bosses at British Airways agreed to bring him home for free.
The pigeon touched down at Manchester Airport yesterday morning following a six-hour flight from JFK International Airport, and was reunited with his owner John Warren, of Bootle, Merseyside.
Billy will have to spend 31 days in quarantine before returning home.
A British Airways spokesman said: "He had a pleasant flight. It was a pleasure to have a VIP a very important pigeon on board."
The spokesman said Billy was "very perky" following the flight.