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Press Release - November 22, 2011

Horse Racing Royalty: 1945 Bric a Bac Santa Anita Racing Trophy, jockey silks and archive to cross the block at Heritage Auctions

Trophy from San Juan Capistrano Handicap, March 13, 1945, the first race run at the track after World War II; Part of Heritage’s Dec. 7 Silver & Vertu Auction in the Dallas Design District

DALLAS, TX – A Shreve & Co. 14K Gold Santa Anita Racing Trophy, presented to the legendary sprint horse Bric a Bac after his dramatic win in the 1945 San Juan Capistrano Handicap, the first race run at the famed racetrack after World War II, is expected to bring $30,000+ as part of Heritage Auctions’ Dec. 7 Silver & Vertu Signature® Auction at the company’s Dallas Design District Annex.

“Bric a Bac was one of the great race horses in the history of the sport, tracing his blood line through his sire, the renowned War Admiral to his grandsire, Man-O-War, considered by many to be the greatest horse to ever run,” said Karen Rigdon, Consignment Director for Silver & Vertu at Heritage. “After winning the San Juan Capistrano Handicap and another $60,000 in winnings earlier that year, Bric a Bac was sold by his owner, Sam Freeman, for $50,000, the highest price at that time ever paid for a race horse in California. Freeman went on to make more than $1,000,000 during his entire career as a race horse owner, an immense amount for the time. ”

The race, The 1945 San Juan Capistrano Handicap, was a classic of the sport, with Bric a Bac as a 25-1 longshot. Wing and Wing, expected to win, led most of the race, including the final turn and up until 50 yards from the finish. Bric a Bac, ridden by jockey Conn N. McCreary – a renowned tactician in the saddle and one of the greatest riders to ever don the racing silks – maneuvered in a furious finishing rally to take the tape by a half-length.

The two handled gadrooned footed cup, created by Shreve & Co. of San Francisco, is inscribed THE SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO HANDICAP, SANTA ANITA PARK, MARCH 13, 1945 ONE AND ONE HALF MILES Bric a Bac, WAR ADMIRAL BY BLOOD ROOT OWNERS FREEMAN AND CHURCH.

Making this lot even more enticing is an extensive array of associated memorabilia rarely seen with a trophy, including McCreary’s jockey's silks, period photographs of McCreary, Bric a Bac and the cup, along with related papers, including newspaper articles, official Santa Anita park program for July 7, 1945, race receipts and checks, stable application, owner's and trainer's cards and records of Bric a Bac’s blood line, making it a wonderful bit of racing history that has been carefully and lovingly preserved.

Inquiries about this lot may be directed to Karen Rigdon at or (214) 409-1723. Register to bid online at

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