The priceless solid gold trophy that will be presented to the owner of the 3-year-old Thoroughbred that wins the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) has arrived safely at Churchill Downs exactly 40 days before the big race on the first Saturday in May.
The 14-karat gold trophy was unveiled to members of the media Monday, March 25 in the Directors Room on the fourth floor of the Churchill Downs Clubhouse. It started its journey to the Louisville track after finishing touches were placed on the coveted prize by artisans at New England Sterling of North Attleboro, Mass., which has created each Kentucky Derby winner’s trophy since 1975.
Marc Forbes of New England Sterling delivered the 2013 trophy to Churchill Downs, and donned white gloves to handle the special cup as it was unveiled just a few yards from the famed Twin Spires of the home of the Kentucky Derby.
“Someone is going to realize their dream as they hoist this trophy above their head in the Winner’s Circle with exhilaration of having won the Kentucky Derby,” Forbes said. “Just as they have that exhilaration, so will New England Sterling and its artisans. We have manufactured this trophy since 1975 and take a lot of pride in doing so.”
Forbes was accompanied to Churchill Downs by two of the primary artisans who created the 2103 trophy: the husband-wife team of Bill and Susanne Blackinton Juaire. Susan is a fifth-generation silversmith whose New England family firs entered the profession in 1862 – 13 years before the 1875 running of the first Kentucky Derby. Bill Juaire has been part of the team that has created the trophy since 1986 and has contributed to the creation of 28 Kentucky Derby Winner’s Trophies.
This trophy has been a part of my whole life,” said Susanne Blackinton Juaire. “We love to watch the end of the race and see the presentation of the cup, and to see the smiles on all of the faces. It brings us a lot of joy.”
Forbes said the trophy takes “about 2,000 man-hours” to create the trophy each year. The process to fashion each year’s Derby begins the previous October on a schedule designed for the delivery of the trophy to the Louisville track in late March or early April.
Between now and Kentucky Derby Day, the trophy will be in the care of the Kentucky Derby Museum. It will make public appearances at several events, which include the annual “Taste of Derby” and creation of the Kentucky Derby Rose Garland on Derby Eve, before it is transported to the Kentucky Derby Winner’s Circle for America’s greatest race on Saturday, May 4.
KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER’S TROPHY QUICK FACTS