Ghost Trophy by Nick D’Agostino

January 31, 2019

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Ghost Trophy

By: Nick D’Agostino

It had come to my attention that one of the 13 Triple Crown trophies had shown up in of all places, a Las Vegas pawn shop. It wasn’t just your average pawn shop, it was none other than Rick Harrison’s Gold and Silver Pawn, also known as the hit show on the History channel “Pawn Stars”.

Affirmed was the 11th Triple Crown winner in history taking all three of the classic distance races that begin with the Kentucky Derby, and finish with the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

It was 1978 and Grease the musical film was released starring a 24-year-old John Travolta. The New York Yankees won their 22nd World Series defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jimmy Carter was our President. I mention these events from that year for a reason, they are part of history.

Affirmed bred in Florida by Louis Wolfson’s Harbor View Farms and trained by the great Laz Barrera. He was piloted by Steve Cauthen and had to face the likes of Alydar in all three Triple Crown races. He won the Kentucky Derby by 1 ½ lengths with however  Jorge Velasquez and Alydar were at his throat latch for the Preakness and the Belmont only winning by a head in both races. Alydar had the distinction of being the only horse to run second in all three Triple Crown races. Alydar actually got in front of Affirmed in deep stretch of the Belmont but Affirmed rallied back on the inside to seal the deal and coveted Triple Crown.

Laz Barrera’s Triple Crown trophy over the years has seemed to wander around from privately being sold to Timothy Robins, a California based former television producer who is also known for being a collector of high- priced sports memorabilia; including buying and selling championship rings. In February of 2018 the Triple Crown trophy re-surfaced at Heritage Auctions and was originally offered for $225,000.00. That was lowered to a reserve of $125,000.00 which was never met. Subsequently, the consigner “unknown owner” took the trophy back. It recently showed up on an episode of Pawn Stars.

A gentleman by the name of “Patrick” brought the trophy in and it was appraised at $500,000.00. Corey (from the show) offered a paltry 125k which was quickly refused. The offer was bumped up to 225k which was also briskly refused as “Patrick” stood firm on 500k. “Patrick” shook hands with Corey and parted ways walking out the door with one of the most coveted trophies in the history of American sports.

You might notice me referring to “Patrick” with quotation marks. This is because I do not think said individual was “Patrick.” He looked like the spitting image of Timothy Robins, who claimed that he knew the trainer when asked how he got his hands on the trophy. Based on their ages I am not sure that would be possible, however it only adds to the mystique of this story. I will commend Corey as he told “Patrick” “this belongs in a museum.” Corey is right, it does belong in a museum or perhaps with the Barrera family.. Something so rare should not be diluted by collectors passing this back and forth amongst each other playing “highest bidder.” It’s sad that the egos of whose wallet is bigger is keeping this trophy from being in its rightful place.

I spoke to Pawn Stars and was told that indeed the trophy left the store, but I was the 2nd person to call on it. The first person that called apparently ended up purchasing the trophy for an unknown amount.

Of course they wouldn’t tell me who bought it. Out into the streets of Sin City it vanished like a ghost.  I’m not sure if we will ever see it again, but if it ever shows up at Pawn Stars, I’m number 1 on the list to call!

Sure it would look great with this from P6K’s collection, but we’d likely get it back into the hands of the Barrera’s given the chance!

From our collection, Belmont program signed by Steve Cauthen and Jorge Velasquez, Belmont win ticket, Affirmed Derby pic signed by Cauthen…

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Great article and you are absolutely right. However your piece is sensible and logical- something that doesn't register with the opposition (who rely on emotion and "siege tactics")

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