Two steeplechase trophies were among five priceless trophies stolen from the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., late on Thursday, Sept. 12.
Taken in the fast-moving, smash-and-grab heist were the 1914 Brook Cup Handicap Steeplechase Trophy won at Belmont Park by Compliment and the 1923 Grand National Steeplechase Trophy won at Aintree in England by Sergeant Murphy.
“These trophies are irreplaceable,” said Christopher Dragone, the museum’s director. “We are saddened by this unfortunate event and hopeful that the investigation leads to the apprehension of the individual or individuals who committed this crime and the return of the trophies.”
Saratoga Springs police, assisted by the New York State Police, are conducting the investigation of the 11:30 p.m. break-in. The thief or thieves gained entry through a courtyard, setting off a security alarm, but were out of the building within three minutes. Glass display cases in two different galleries at opposite sides of the museum were smashed to gain access to the trophies.
Police officials said the break-in was the work of professionals and similar to one last December at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y., where 14 trophies were stolen. They were not recovered, and police believe they have been melted down for their gold and silver content.
The Brook Cup, the 1905 Saratoga Special Trophy, and the 1903 Brighton Cup Trophy were made of gold. Made of silver were the 248-ounce Grand National Trophy and the 1903 the Belmont Stakes Trophy made by Tiffany Co. Grand National winner Sergeant Murphy was owned by Stephen Sandford, an American studying at Cambridge University.