"Stage Door Johnny" denies "Forward Pass" the controversial Triple Crown1968 Belmont Stakes Winner's Trophy Presented to Jockey Heliodoro Gustines.
UPDATE: Includes a letter of provenance from Heliodoro Gustines.
Sports Illustrated magazine had declared the 1968 Kentucky Derby the sports story of the year as winner Dancer's Image was disqualified when a post-race urinalysis revealed traces of phenylbutazone, passing the victory on to Preakness winner Forward Pass. Several from the Dancer's Image camp, including owner Peter Fuller, suggested outside forces had tampered with the results, so a dark clowd of controversy hung over the Belmont and the prospect of a Triple Crown many would consider illegitimate.
To the relief of many, a winning performance by thoroughbred Stage Door Johnny at the Belmont rendered the issue moot, and necessitated the creation of the gorgeous victor's trophy presented here. It derives from the personal collection of famed Panamanian jockey Heliodoro Gustines, who piloted his steed past Forward Pass in the final quarter mile to deny the Triple Crown by a single length.
The gorgeous sterling silver creation features three figural horses on the base and a fourth standing atop the lid, with engraving on the trophy bowl reporting, "New York Racing Association, The Belmont, Belmont Park, 1968, Won by Greentree Stable's Stage Door Johnny, Jockey Heliodoro Gustines." Larger text on reverse reads, "August Belmont Memorial Cup."
Height is approximately eight and a half inches (8.5") and width approximately seven inches (7"). Maker's mark from "Ensko," creator of many of the Belmont trophies of the era, appears on base. Light tarnishing but no other condition issues of note. Letter of provenance from Heliodoro Gustines.
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