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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Derby Trophy Arrives at Churchill Downs


Solid Gold

The gold 2017 Kentucky Derby Winner’s Trophy arrived at Churchill Downs on Wednesday, and now all we need to do is figure out who's going to get it.

The 14-karat gold trophy – a prize that is deemed priceless by many because of its unique nature – will have ahome in the Kentucky Derby Museum located adjacent to the racetrack until the running of the Derby on May 6.

The prize will make a round of public appearances before Derby day.

The 2017 Kentucky Derby Winner’s Trophy goes to the winning owner. It was accompanied by three smaller sterling silver replica trophies that go to trainer, jockey and breeder of this year’s winner. The were delivered to Churchill Downs by representatives of S. R. Blackinton, the Smithfield, R.I. company that annually crafts the pieces. President/Designer Susanne Blackinton-Juaire and her husband, Bill Juaire, represented their company’s artisans as they delivered this year’s trophy.

Susanne Blackinton-Juaare is a fifth-generation silversmith whose family entered the profession in 1862 – 12 years before the first Kentucky Derby was run in 1875 at the track originally known as the Louisville Jockey Club. The company’s artisans have crafted each Kentucky Derby Winner’s Trophy since 1975.

“It is a thrill each year for the members of our team that craft the Kentucky Derby Winner’s Trophy, and also a very emotional experience,” Blackinton-Juaire said. “Each individual connected to this coveted trophy takes great care and pride throughout the five-month process during which each year’s trophy is crafted. We’re sad to see it leave each spring for its journey to Churchill Downs, but it is exhilarating for each of us when we witness the joyful moment on the first Saturday in May when this wonderful trophy is presented to the owner of the Kentucky Derby winner.”

The current design of the Kentucky Derby Winner’s Trophy was commissioned by legendary Churchill Downs President Col. Matt Winn in 1924 for that year’s 50th, or Golden Anniversary, running of the Kentucky Derby.

The trophy is a cup fashioned from 14-karat gold and green gold and stands 22 inches tall and weighs approximately 65 ounces, excluding its jade base. It is topped by a 14-karat gold horse and rider and features a pair of horseshoe-shaped wreath handles. The gold cup is adorned by a 14-karat gold horseshoe that, in accordance with Thoroughbred racing tradition, points upward. Racing legend holds that the luck will run out of a horseshoe that points downward.

The trophy’s design took on added features for the 75th (1949), 100th (1974) and 125th (1999) renewals of the Kentucky Derby. Each of those trophies included a mantle of rose emblems fashioned from rubies and emeralds, along with a horseshoe filled with diamonds. Similar enhancements are planned for the trophy of the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby in 2024.

Edited Churchill Downs release

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