In conjunction with Keeneland’s 80th anniversary of racing this fall, officials today debuted the Keeneland Vase as the next Milestone Trophy in a unique owner recognition program that has been part of track history for more than 60 years.
Inaugurated during the 1952 Fall Meet, the prestigious Milestone Trophy Program commemorates owners whose horses win graded stakes at Keeneland. When an owner wins a graded stakes, he or she is presented with a Keeneland Trophy Cup. Accumulation of eight Trophy Cups earns the owner a Keeneland Tray; eight more wins and the owner receives a Keeneland Pitcher; eight additional wins and the owner is awarded a Keeneland Bowl.
The Keeneland Trophy Cup, Tray, Bowl, Pitcher and now Vase are individually handcrafted by Tiffany & Co. The vermeil pieces are made of sterling silver and hand-engraved before being dipped in 24K gold and hand-polished.
The Hancock family’s Claiborne Farm, Keeneland’s leading owner by stakes wins with 26 victories, is the only owner to earn a Bowl, having achieved that milestone in the Fall 2003. Claiborne currently has two Trophy Cups toward the newly created Vase.
Only three owners have received the Pitcher, including Claiborne (Fall 1968), Millard Waldheim’s Bwamazon Farm (Spring 1983) and William S. Farish (Spring 2003). Farish stands one graded stakes win away from earning the Bowl.
The list of owners who have won Milestone Trophies reads like a “Who’s Who” of Thoroughbred racing history. Among them are such luminaries as Hasty House Farm, C.V. Whitney, Golden Chance Farm, Darby Dan Farm, Allen Paulson, Overbrook Farm, Juddmonte Farms, Michael Tabor, Augustin Stable, Dogwood Stable and Ken and Sarah Ramsey.
“Keeneland’s Milestone Trophy Program celebrates the horse owner, who truly is the lifeblood of our industry,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “This program is a ‘Thank You’ to them, an appreciation of their sportsmanship and their investment in racing.”
The Keeneland Vase was crafted over a two-year span, with each detail carefully and meticulously designed. The Vase contains elements from each of the previous Milestone Trophies: beading from the Tray along the rims, the form and handle from the Pitcher, the shape of the neck from the Cup and the base from the Bowl. The same engraving detail is used on each piece and incorporates elements such as the laurels, eagle and wreath from Keeneland’s signature Gate Post. The cartouches are then engraved with the winning horse’s name.
From the program’s inception in 1952 through 1993, Keeneland presented a Trophy Cup to the winning owner of every major stakes race held at the track. A Tray was awarded with the sixth stakes victory and a Pitcher after six additional stakes wins.
The number of Trophy Cups required to achieve a Milestone Trophy was increased from six to eight prior to the 1994 Spring Meet to reflect the increased number of graded stakes races at Keeneland.