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Last Updated: May 6, 2019

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History of the US Triple Crown as the Kentucky Derby Nears

Introduction

The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing or more simply known as the Triple Crown is an award given to a Thoroughbred three-year-old horse that wins the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.

All three races are held in the United States of America and achieving the Triple Crown is a very rare accomplishment in horse racing. This recognition has only occurred 13 times since 1875 when the last of the qualifying events, the Kentucky Derby, was inaugurated.

The Derby

The Kentucky Derby, which is referred to as the Run for the Roses is held the first Saturday in May each year. It takes place at the famous Churchill Downs track located in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1875, when the Derby first began, the racetrack was originally 1 ½ miles, but it was decreased to 1 ¼ miles in 1896. Ever since 1975, the field has been limited to only 20 horses.

The Preakness Stakes

The second leg of the Triple Crown is the Preakness Stakes also known as the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans. This race is held on the third Saturday in May every year at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. The track is 1 3⁄16 miles long, which is the shortest of all three Triple Crown Races. Only 14 horses get the privilege of running the Preakness Stakes.

The Belmont Stakes

The Belmont Stakes is called the Test of the Champion, and it happens on the third Saturday following the Preakness Stakes. Belmont Park in Elmont, New York is the venue for the last of the Triple Crown races and is home to the longest track of all three races at 1 ½ miles long. During the years of 1911 and 1912, the event was not held due to the gambling legislation in place for New York. The field is limited to 16 horses that run in the Belmont Stakes each year.

The 13 Previous Triple Crown Winning Horses

  • Sir Barton in 1919

Jockey: Johnny Loftus

Trainer: H. Guy Bedwell

Owner: J. K. L. Ross

Breeder: John E. Madden

  • Gallant Fox in 1930

Jockey: Earl Sande

Trainer: Jim Fitzsimmons

Owner: Belair Stud

Breeder: Belair Stud

  • Omaha in 1935

Jockey: Willie "Smokey" Saunders

Trainer: Jim Fitzsimmons

Owner: Belair Stud

Breeder: Belair Stud

  • War Admiral in 1937

Jockey: Charles Kurtsinger

Trainer: George Conway

Owner: Samuel D. Riddle

Breeder: Samuel D. Riddle

  • Whirlaway in 1941

Jockey: Eddie Arcaro

Trainer: Ben A. Jones

Owner: Calumet Farm

Breeder: Calumet Farm

  • Count Fleet in 1943

Jockey: Johnny Longden

Trainer: Don Cameron

Owner: Fannie Hertz

Breeder: Fannie Hertz

  • Assault in 1946

Jockey: Warren Mehrtens

Trainer: Max Hirsch

Owner: King Ranch

Breeder: King Ranch

  • Citation in 1948

Jockey: Eddie Arcaro

Trainer: Horace A. "Jimmy" Jones

Owner: Calumet Farm

Breeder: Calumet Farm

  • Secretariat in 1973

Jockey: Ron Turcotte

Trainer: Lucien Laurin

Owner: Meadow Stable

Breeder: Meadow Stable

  • Seattle Slew in 1977

Jockey: Jean Cruguet

Trainer: William H. Turner, Jr.

Owner: Mickey and Karen L. Taylor, Tayhill Stable/Jim Hill, et al.

Breeder: Ben S. Castleman

  • Affirmed in 1978

Jockey: Steve Cauthen

Trainer: Laz Barrera

Owner: Harbor View Farm

Breeder: Harbor View Farm

  • American Pharoah in 2015

Jockey: Victor Espinoza

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Owner: Ahmed Zayat

Breeder: Ahmed Zayat

  • Justify in 2018

Jockey: Mike Smith

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Owner: China Horse Club Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing, WinStar Farm

Breeder: John D. Gunther

Source:

“Triple Crown Winners”kentuckyderby.com

“Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing (United States)”en.wikipedia.org 


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