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Based in Atlanta, GA - Rick Limpert is an award-winning writer, a best-selling author, and a featured sports travel writer.

Named the No. 1 Sports Technology writer in the U.S. on Oct 1, 2014.

Entries in Doyle New York (1)


1953 Preakness Stakes Trophy Won by Native Dancer To Be Auctioned at Doyle in New York

With the Kentucky Derby and Justify in our rearview mirror...

The 1953 Preakness Stakes trophy won by the legendary racehorse Native Dancer will be auctioned by Doyle in New York on Wednesday, May 23. There are few American racing collectibles as important and evocative as this sterling silver trophy that was presented to Alfred G. Vanderbilt, Jr., Native Dancer’s owner.

Hard-charging Native Dancer, nicknamed the Grey Ghost, was the heavy favorite heading into the Preakness Stakes, which he won in a hotly contested race. He later won the Belmont and Travers Stakes. Native Dancer’s only loss in his career of 21 wins in 22 races was the Kentucky Derby of 1953, robbing him of the Triple Crown. He retired to stud at Sagamore Farm in Maryland and sired many later champions.

Native Dancer’s owner, Alfred G. Vanderbilt, Jr., is a towering figure in the history of Maryland racing. He was the owner of Sagamore Farm where Native Dancer was raised and trained, and Pimlico Race Course, the home of the Preakness Stakes. In 1938, he arranged the famous match race at Pimlico between Seabiscuit and War Admiral, which captivated the nation.

The story of the Preakness trophy itself is equally fascinating. The original Woodlawn Vase is a massive 36-inch-tall sterling trophy made by Tiffany & Co. in 1860 for Woodlawn Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky. In 1917, the Woodlawn Vase became the winner's trophy for the Preakness Stakes and was passed annually from one year’s winner to the next. Upon Native Dancer’s victory in 1953, Jeanne Murray Vanderbilt, Mr. Vanderbilt’s wife, declined the statue due to its historical significance to the sport, and the Woodlawn Vase was sent to the Baltimore Art Museum.

A replica of the Woodlawn Vase was created by the Baltimore firm of Schofield for the Vanderbilts, and thus began the modern tradition of a new Preakness trophy for each winner.

Doyle specialists can only find only one Preakness Stakes trophy sold at auction, that for the 1970 winner, Personality, who did not achieve as many wins or gain the national affection showered on Native Dancer in 1953. Nor did it have an owner as highly regarded and influential to the history of the sport as Alfred G. Vanderbilt, Jr. The 1953 Preakness Stakes trophy is truly one of the most compelling treasures of thoroughbred racing.

The auction on May 23 coincides to the day with the 65th anniversary of Native Dancer’s historic win. The public is invited to the exhibition on view May 19 through 21 at Doyle located at 175 East 87th Street in Manhattan. The auction catalogue can be viewed at