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For gentleman fans of actresses, see Gaiety Girls#Stagedoor Johnnies

Stage Door Johnny (May 22, 1965 – November 21, 1996) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse best known for his win in the third leg of the 1968 U.S. Triple Crown series, the Belmont Stakes.[2]

Stage Door Johnny
SirePrince John
DamPeroxide Blonde
CountryUnited States
BreederGreentree Stud
OwnerGreentree Stable
TrainerJohn M. Gaver, Sr.
Record8: 5-2-1
Major wins
Belmont Stakes (1968)
Dwyer Handicap (1968)
Saranac Handicap (1968)
TRA & DRF U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old-Colt (1968)
Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame[1]
Last updated on January 14, 2008
Stage Door Johnnies waited for the lady performers at the stage door after Edwardian musical comedies


Stage Door Johnny was a chestnut horse with a white blaze, owned by the Whitney family's Greentree Stable. He was sired by Prince John, a four-time leading broodmare sire in North America. His grandsire was the 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 by many to be the best long-distance runner in American racing history.

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

Racing careerEdit

Stage Door Johnny did not run in the 1¼ mile Kentucky Derby or the 1 3/16 mile Preakness Stakes. Trained by future U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee John M. Gaver, Sr., he was bred and conditioned for success in 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 second, a length and a half back. Stage Door Johnny also won the Saranac Handicap at the end of June,[3] then July's Dwyer Handicap.[4] At a time when three organizations voted on the various annual racing awards, the Thoroughbred Racing Association[5] and Daily Racing Form[6] voted Stage Door Johnny 1968's U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old-Colt, while Forward Pass topped the poll organized by Turf & Sports Digest magazine.

Stud recordEdit

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:

Damsire of:

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.[7]


  1. ^ "Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame - Stage Door Johnny". 1977-01-23. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  2. ^ "Stage Door Johnny hero in wildest Triple Crown". Daily News. June 4, 1968. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  3. ^ Nichols, Joe (1968-06-30). "STAGE DOOR JOHNNY FIRST - - CHOICE PAYS $3.40". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  4. ^ Nichols, Joe (1968-07-14). "GREENTREE COLT VICTOR IN DWYER". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  5. ^ "Dark Mirage wins honor". Spokane Daily Chronicle. December 4, 1968. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  6. ^ "Unprecedented turf sweep by Dr Fager". Press-Courier. November 28, 1968. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  7. ^ "Grave Matters Thoroughbreds". Retrieved 2012-07-13.

External linksEdit