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Rose Mary
By Rosemary McKittrick
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Majestic Prince’s "Kentucky Derby" gold cup sold for $60,000. Photo courtesy of Doyle Galleries.
Degas watched one of his works of art sell at auction for $100,000. Asked how he felt he offered this comment, “I feel as a horse must feel when the beautiful cup is given to the jockey.”

The beautiful cups are still being awarded to jockeys and horse racing keeps churning out champions.

The bighearted, Majestic Prince was poised to be the first unbeaten race horse in history to win the Triple Crown—the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. He had the first two in the bag and was ready for Belmont.

There were only six horses in the 1969 Belmont Stakes. With an unbeaten record, the chestnut colt was the favorite.

With only an eighth-mile to go in the race, Majestic Prince closed to second but couldn’t catch up to Derby/Preakness runner-up Arts and Letters. The Prince ended up coming in second by five lengths.

Majestic Prince had some physical problems before the Derby. His owner, obsessed with Triple Crown fever, overruled the trainers and ran him anyway. The results spoke for themselves.

After Belmont, Majestic Prince never raced again and finished his career with a 9-1-0 in 10 races earning $414,200. His owner, Canadian oil millionaire Frank McMahon paid a record $250,000 for the horse in 1967.

The Derby victory gave trainer Johnny Longden the record for being the only person in history to train and ride a Derby winner. In his earlier career as a jockey, Longden steered 1943 Triple Crown winner Count Fleet to victory in the Derby.

After his racing days were over, Majestic Prince began a breeding career at Spendthrift Farm, Lexington, Ky. It was the same farm where he was bred and raised by Leslie Combs II. He died in 1981 at the age of 15.

Majestic Prince’s Kentucky Derby gold cup surfaced at auction on July 20, 2006, at Doyle, New York by order of the Provident Loan Society, a not-for-profit lending organization also in New York. It marked the first time since 1951 that a Kentucky Derby Gold Cup had been offered for sale.

Estimated to sell for $15,000-20,000, the cup brought $60,000. Made of solid 14 karat gold, the trophy measured 16 3/4 inches and weighed almost 50 ounces.

The Louisville, Kentucky-based internet company was the winning bidder. The company is operated in conjunction with Mrs. Penny Chenery, the owner of Secretariat. Its goal is to celebrate thoroughbred racing’s past.

Chenery’s Meadow Stable won back-to-back Kentucky Derbys. The first was Riva Ridge in 1972. The second was Triple Crown winner Secretariat in 1973.

The under bidder on this lot was the Kentucky Derby Museum which possesses one of the nation’s largest collection of Derby trophies.

Ironically, the trophy won by Majestic Prince is headed back to Louisville. The new owners will loan the trophy to the museum to serve as the centerpiece of a Kentucky Derby Museum exhibit on that famed “Run for the Roses.” The Derby victory exhibit on Majestic Prince was scheduled to open Aug. 22.

“Mrs. Chenery and I felt that the purchase and the public showing of the trophy would be a wonderful way to increase interest and enthusiasm for the sport,” said Leonard Lusky, president of

Chenery added she was delighted to have played a part in bringing the trophy back home.

Here are some current values for jewelry lots sold in the auction.


Diamond engagement ring; 7 diamonds; center stone about 0.95 ct., $2,800.

Diamond tennis bracelet; 35 diamonds about 4.25 cts., $3,000.

Necklace; gold and stone coin; 22K; $3,000.

Wristwatch, man’s Swiss model; $4,500.

Diamond necklace; about 2.40 cts., 14k; $6,900.

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