The Coveted Triple Crown
 By Chris Antley Memorial   •   4th Feb 2011   •   15,761 views   •   19 comments

Winning the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing is considered the greatest accomplishment of a Thoroughbred racehorse. The Triple Crown consists of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. One might think that this is easy to do, but it is not. A horse has only one shot at the Triple Crown. It is only for 3 year old horses and these three races are in a span of 5 weeks . . . three different races, three different distances, three different tracks, and three different states. The Triple Crown has become a very rare achievement. It has been 32 years since the racing world has witnessed a Triple Crown victory.

In the United States, the three races that compose the Triple Crown are:

1. Kentucky Derby, run over 11⁄4 miles (2.01 km) dirt track at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky;

2. Preakness Stakes, run over 1 3⁄16 miles (1.91 km) dirt track at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland;

3. Belmont Stakes, run over 11⁄2 miles (2.41 km), the longest dirt track in thoroughbred racing, at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.

The Triple Crown has existed for almost 100 years and there have only been 11 winners and many “almost” Triple Crown Winners. After losing the 2008 Belmont Stakes on Big Brown, Jockey Kent Desormeaux said, “I can’t fathom what kind of freaks those 11 Triple Crown winners were.” Indeed those 11 horses are freaks; some of racing’s finest and greatest.

In 1919 it was Sir Barton and Jockey Johnny Loftus.
11 years later it was Gallant Fox and Jockey Earl Sande.
5 years later it was Omaha and Jockey Willie Saunders.
2 years later it was War Admiral and Jockey Charley Kurtsinger.
4 years later it was Whirlaway and Jockey Eddie Arcaro.
2 years later it was Count Fleet and Jockey Johnny Longden.
3 years later it was Assault and Jockey Warren Mehrtens.
2 years later it was Citation and again Jockey Eddie Arcaro, the only jockey to win two Triple Crowns.
25 years later is was Secretariat and Jockey Ron Turcotte.
4 years later it was Seattle Slew and Jockey Jean Cruguet.
The following year it was Affirmed and 18 year old jockey, Steve Cauthen.

Sadly, the last Triple Crown winner left alive, Seattle Slew, passed away on May 7, 2002.

During those years since the last Triple Crown winner, there have been many horses that have come so close in claiming that ultimate prize. There have been 45 horses who won two out of the three Triple Crown races but only 21 who won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness only to fail in the Belmont Stakes. The list below gives those horses along with where they finished in the Belmont and who beat them. Seven of the 21 were in the last 12 years, so we are more than due for someone to finally win.

Triple Crown Near Misses (Derby/Preakness doubles)

YEARHORSEBelmont finish
1932Burgoo King(Did not start)
1936Bold Venture(Did not start)
1944Pensive2nd (Bounding Home)
1958Tim Tam2nd (Cavan)
1961Carry Back7th (Sherluck)
1964Northern Dancer3rd (Quadrangle)
1966Kauai King4th (Amberoid)
1968**Forward Pass2nd (Stage Door Johnny)
1969Majestic Prince2nd (Arts and Letters)
1971Canonero II4th (Pass Catcher)
1979Spectacular Bid3rd (Coastal)
1981Pleasant Colony3rd (Summing)
1987Alysheba4th (Bet Twice)
1989Sunday Silence2nd (Easy Goer)
1997Silver Charm2nd (Touch Gold)
1998Real Quiet2nd (Victory Gallop)
1999Charismatic3rd (Lemon Drop Kid)
2002War Emblem8th (Sarava)
2003Funny Cide3rd (Empire Maker)
2004Smarty Jones2nd (Birdstone)
2008Big BrownDNF (Da'Tara)
**Won on disqualification.

Winning all three races, the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, is truly a test of pure greatness.
Horse News More PB Articles About:  Triple Crown,
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No Walkin Farms9  
Great article. I started writing one about how all three races became part of the Triple Crown but then I started writing Running After the Roses and my other article went no where. Maybe one day I'll get around to it. Or someone else will beat me to it. Again, lovely article. Very informative.
  Feb 4, 2011  •  10,456 views
Big Brown should have but the stupid trainer took him off his supplement. What a idiot!
  Feb 4, 2011  •  10,455 views
Wanderin Boy Memorial  MOD 
Amazing article !! My favorite triple crown winner is Affirmed. I felt so bad for Kent Desormeaux riding Real Quiet in the Belmont....lost by a nose. That must have really hurt.
  Feb 4, 2011  •  11,036 views
Fantastic article
I always thought the Triple crown was just in America until recently and found that England has one too and many other countries for that matter.
Secretariat is still the best American Thoroughbred, truly amazing
  Feb 4, 2011  •  11,026 views
if you trace my thoroughbreds breeding back one of her great-great gran-sires was northern dancer as she was bred from an american stallion
  Feb 4, 2011  •  10,453 views
Painted Destiny  
Really great article! I learned a lot. :D
  Feb 4, 2011  •  10,451 views
This is an awesome article! I never thought so many horses have won all three! :)
  Feb 4, 2011  •  10,459 views
Seven Sins  
great article
  Feb 4, 2011  •  10,442 views
Heaven Sent Creatures  MOD 
very informative article, thanks for taking the time to write it
  Feb 4, 2011  •  10,473 views
Prarie Rose  
Nice article. I really hope we all get to see a Triple Crown Winner in our lifetime. It would be awesome :)
  Feb 5, 2011  •  10,450 views
Seven Sins  
wonderful article
  Feb 5, 2011  •  10,442 views
Awesome article, I love all those horses so much! I always thought that Seabiscuit won the triple crown, but I guess I was wrong lol. Seabiscuit is still my favorite though(:
  Feb 5, 2011  •  10,462 views
Vwonderful article, very informative :)
  Feb 5, 2011  •  10,454 views
King of Wings  
fantastic article!
  Feb 7, 2011  •  10,484 views
fantastic article, I would love to go watch sometime, but I highly doubt I'll get a chance unless I move to America xD
  Feb 9, 2011  •  10,446 views
Awesome article :) My favorite racehorse of all time is Barbaro :)
  Feb 24, 2011  •  10,458 views
MS Horses  
Great article!
  Feb 24, 2011  •  10,458 views
T E M P E S T  
Nice article! I hope there is another winner in our lifetimes!
  Mar 3, 2011  •  10,518 views
Little Bitty Farm  
Great article!
  May 9, 2011  •  10,479 views
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