|Tuesday 24th August 2021
Who Has Won the Triple Crown in Horse Racing?
When the words "triple crown" are used in sports, they elicit respect, appreciation, admiration, and even awe. They immediately conjure up images of the world's most elite athletes competing at a rarely seen level for a prize rarely won.
What is The Triple Crown in Horse Racing?
"Triple crown" is horse-racing terminology and refers to three Grade I races run every year between May and June. Those races are, in order:
- The Kentucky Derby that always runs on the first Saturday in May.
- The Preakness Stakes; a mere two weeks later.
- The Belmont Stakes, only three weeks after the Preakness, and five weeks after the Derby.
Individually, the races are known as "jewels of the Triple Crown," and a single victory in any of them is in itself a noteworthy achievement.
A Triple Crown winner is a horse who defies all odds and logic, immediately cementing himself in horse racing lore as a deity by winning not one, not two, but all three races, including the mile-and-a-half-long third-leg of the crown, also known as The Belmont Stakes. It is not uncommon for the winners of the first two to lose the third to horses with less speed but better endurance.
The Most Difficult Achievement in Competitive Sports
Speed horses are well-suited for the mile-and-a-quarter Kentucky Derby track or the mile-and-three-sixteenths Preakness, but to be able to maintain that speed while covering an additional 2 - 2.5 furlongs is virtually unheard of. Doing it for the third big race in only five weeks is nearly impossible. It is inarguably the most challenging feat to accomplish in horse racing.
This near-impossibility gives the Triple Crown event its mystique and garners lifelong acclaim for those special enough to win it. Winning any of these races catapults the connections into an elite earnings bracket as each jewel of the Triple Crown has some of the biggest purses in all of racing. With that much money on the line, betters of all experience and skill levels love to get in on the action. Interestingly, it is not just racing that sees increased betting on Triple Crown race days; online betting across the board sees a flurry of activity.
2021 marks a whopping 146 years of Triple Crown racing. And in all that time, only 13 horses have successfully bid for the sport's most coveted and revered honor. Every name on this list is considered horse racing royalty, and like the Pantheon through time, will live on as an example of perfection in movement, symmetry, and mechanics.
The 13 Triple Crown Winners
So, who has won the Triple Crown in horse racing? Here are the 13 distinguished horses. Sir Barton was the first in 1919, followed by Gallant Fox in 1930, 11 years later. Omaha won in 1935, then War Admiral only two years later, in 1937. Whirlaway got his win on successive Saturdays in May of 1941, followed by Count Fleet two years later in 1943.
Assault conquered all other crowd favorites in 1946, and then Citation got a win two years later, in 1948. For the next 25 years, there were no winners. Secretariat broke that dry spell in 1973, followed by Seattle Slew in 1977. Only a year later, Affirmed won in 1978. American Pharoah won in 2015 after a 37-year-long dry spell, and the last winner was Justify in 2018.
2021 and Beyond
This year's Belmont Stakes was the 153rd race, and it was known that there would be no Triple Crown winner since different horses already won the previous two races. While you wait for next year's Belmont Stakes, read more here about the history of Solitaire and enjoy a quick game!