Should Justify complete the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes (G1) June 9 at Belmont Park | BloodHorse.com Track Profile">Belmont Park, his connections will be the first to be presented with a new Triple Crown trophy.
One year after American Pharoah swept the classics to earn the 2015 Triple Crown, New York Racing Association president Chris Kay commissioned a new trophy to replace the Cartier-designed trophy that went to the connections of the first 12 winners, some retroactively.
The new, larger trophy, designed by celebrated sculptor Roberto Santo, was on display at this year's Belmont Stakes draw June 5 at Citi Field in New York. Just over three feet tall, the trophy features a three-sided base with the Triple Crown productions logo engraved. At the top of that base is a glass globe with the continents of the world.
Moving up from the base is a crown with jewels signifying the three tracks that host the races: Churchill Downs, Pimlico Race Course, and Belmont Park. Above the crown is an inverted pyramid with the three race names on each of its sides: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. That part of the trophy is similar to the original, which Kay had called "minimalist."
Atop the inverted pyramid is a sculpture of a gold horse and rider striving for racing glory.
Kay said the owners of the three Triple Crown tracks will rotate the trophy throughout the year: The Stronach Group, Churchill Downs Inc., and NYRA. He said the trophy can help bring fans out to a day of racing or a big event, similar to hockey's well-traveled Stanley Cup. The previous trophy spent most of the year on display at the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville.
"The whole idea here is, much like people come out to see the Stanley Cup trophy: Bring it to the racetracks," Kay said.
"We're going to try to rotate it so that it's at the tracks when they have some of their best racing. For example, The Stronach Group will have it January, February, March; NYRA will have it June, July, August, and part of September; and Churchill Downs will have it in September, November, and of course May."
Kay said that while the trophy has a classic look, it also has an interactive feature that should draw people.
"It has classic lines, it's beautiful," Kay said. "But it has a modern aspect where you can take a 'selfie' where your face is immersed in the trophy."
Kay looks forward to having the Triple Crown on the line Saturday.
"I think the excitement of the Triple Crown is great for the sport. It gets everybody interested and you have to have winners sometime," Kay said. "It was great that American Pharoah was able to win in 2015 and it certainly has brought a lot of attention, well-deserved attention, to the sport in 2018."