Stage Door Johnny

Stage Door Johnny

Thoroughbred racehorse infobox
horsename = Stage Door Johnny

caption =
sire = Prince John
grandsire = Princequillo
dam = Peroxide Blonde
damsire = Ballymoss
sex = Stallion
foaled = 1965
country = United States
colour = Chestnut
breeder = Greentree Stud
owner = Greentree Stable
trainer = John M. Gaver, Sr.
record = 8: 5-2-1
earnings = $223,965
race = Belmont Stakes (1968)
Dwyer Handicap (1968)
Saranac Handicap (1968)
awards= U.S. Co-Champion 3-Yr-Old-Colt (1968)
honours = Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame (1977)
updated= January 14, 2008

Stage Door Johnny (1965-1996) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse best known for his win in the 1968 Belmont Stakes.

Bred for racing a distance

Owned by the Whitney family's prominent Greentree Stable, Stage Door Johnny was sired by Prince John, a four-time leading broodmare sire in North America. His grandsire was the very important stallion Princequillo, a horse of great endurance who won several important races at longer distances. Princequillo broke the Saratoga Race Course record for 1¾ miles and his performances were such that he is considered to be the best long-distance runner in American racing history.

Stage Door Johnny's damsire was the great Irish colt Ballymoss, winner of several races at the Belmont Stakes distance of 1½ miles including the Irish Derby, England's King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and France's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe,

The 1968 Belmont Stakes

Stage Door Johnny did not run in the 1¼ mile Kentucky Derby or the 13/16 mile Preakness Stakes. Trained by future U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee, John M. Gaver, Sr., Stage Door Johnny's breeding and conditioning had him ready for the gruelling 1½ mile Belmont Stakes.

In 1968 a great deal of controversy swirled around the Belmont Stakes as Forward Pass had won the first two legs of the U.S. Triple Crown series as a result of the disqualification of Kentucky Derby winner Dancer's Image. The controversy filled the sporting news of every media outlet in North America and was the cover story for "Sports Illustrated" magazine which referred to it as the sports story of the year. A victory by Forward Pass in the Belmont Stakes would make him the first Triple Crown winner in twenty years and many fans, experts, and CBS racing commentators felt he would be an illegitimate champion.

Ridden by Heliodoro Gustines, Stage Door Johnny ended the Triple Crown debate when he won the Belmont Stakes in 2:27 1/5 with Forward Pass coming second, a length-and-a-half back. Stage Door Johnny went on to win July's Dwyer Handicap and then the Saranac Handicap. At a time when three different organizations voted on the various annual racing awards, two voted Stage Door Johnny 1968's U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old-Colt while one gave it to Forward Pass.

Retired to stud duty at Greentree Stud in Lexington, Kentucky, Stage Door Johnny proved a successful sire of a number of stakes race winners including:

* Johnny D. - winner of the 1977 Turf Classic Invitational Stakes and defeated some of the best horses from around the world in the Washington, D.C. International. He was voted the 1977 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Male Turf Horse.
* Late Bloomer - filly who was a multiple Grade I winner and voted the 1978 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Older Female Horse
* Open Call - wins included the 1981 Rothmans International Stakes
* Class Play - filly who won the 1984 Coaching Club American Oaks
* Damsire of:
**Go for Gin, winner of the 1994 Kentucky Derby
**Open Mind, won Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, voted American Champion Two-Year-Old Filly (1988)
American Champion Three-Year-Old Filly (1989)

Stage Door Johnny died in November 1996 at the age of thirty-one and is buried at Greentree Stud, now part of the Gainesway Farm property.


* [ Stage Door Johnny's pedigree and partial racing stats]
* [ Stage Door Johnny at the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum]

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