Description1943 Johnny Longden Race Used Whip from Kentucky Derby Victory on Count Fleet. Ranked number five by Blood-Horse Magazine's list of the Top 100 U.S. Thoroughbred Champions of the Twentieth Century, Count Fleet was sired by 1928 Kentucky Derby winner Reigh Count, and owned by the wife of John D. Hertz of rental car fame. Hertz was initially unimpressed by the young colt and considered selling him until Longden convinced him to be patient, confident that the horse would mature into a Champion.
Longden's prediction proved to be pure genius, as the Hall of Fame jockey would pilot the three-year old thoroughbred to victories in the 1942 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes (the final race by an incredible twenty-five lengths) to become the sixth Triple Crown winner in U.S. history.
Here we present Longden's whip used to propel the 1943 American Horse of the Year to the winner's circle in the first and most prestigious of the Triple Crown contests. Measuring twenty-seven inches in length, the whip is crafted from intricately woven leather and twine and represents one of the most noteworthy relics from The Sport of Kings to appear on the auction block in recent memory. Provenance is supplied in the form of a May 19, 1960 handwritten letter from Longden's second wife Hazel who writes "This is the whip Mr. Longden had when he won the Kentucky Derby on Count Fleet in 1940, Sincerely H. Longden." Included is the original May 18, 1960 postmarked package in which it was mailed from "J. Longden" to "Auction Booth" in Santa Ana, California. Letter of provenance from Hazel Longden.
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