It is a privilege and honour for a horse to win the Triple Crown. Such victories symbolize excellence because winning all three major races of different distances over a tight schedule is not easy. The Triple Crown winners belong to an elite club. There have been several legendary trainers and jockeys with their thoroughbreds. However, only a few could achieve what many couldn’t.
In over 145 years of horse racing, only 13 horses have won the Triple Crown. Each horse that conquered this quest had unique abilities and was fantastic.
What is the Triple Crown?
A thoroughbred winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes is considered to have earned the Triple Crown. From all over the world, the best three-year-old thoroughbreds compete against each other. And to be awarded the honor of the Triple Crown, the horse must win all three races. The term came into being in 1930, but the first horse to win all three major races was in 1919.
Let’s look at the ten thoroughbreds to have won the Triple Crown.
He won the Triple Crown in 1919. A stallion with the color of chestnut, but the interesting part is that he wasn’t supposed to enter the Kentucky Derby. He was supposed to set the pace for his stablemate, Billy Kelly. However, he upset everyone and won the race by five lengths. He entered the Preakness Stakes four days later and won his career’s second race.
Before racing in the Belmont Stakes, Sir Barton ran in the Withers Stakes and won that too. In the final leg of the Belmont Stakes, he not only won the race but made a new world record. All of his accomplishments came in mere 32 days.
Another stallion with the color bay, Gallant Fox, brought the term Triple Crown into being. In 29 days, Gallant swept all three races. Although he started slow as a two-year-old, it was majestic to watch him race once he turned three. His journey in the Triple Crown started with the victory at the Preakness Stakes, then at the Kentucky Derby, and after a week’s break, he won the Belmont Stakes.
Interestingly Omaha was the son of Gallant Fox, and he followed in his father’s footsteps. He’s also the only offspring of the Triple Crown winner to win the Triple Crown. He was also trained by the same trainer who trained Gallant Fox. Although Omaha wasn’t as spectacular as his father, he won the Triple Crown.
He loved racing in the mud because two of his Triple Crown victories came in the rain when the track was slippery, and it was cold.
A brown stallion won the Triple Crown in 1937. He’s one of the greatest horses to ever race. Along with winning the Triple Crown, he was also undefeated in his three-year season and a track record holder for one and a half miles.
A chestnut stallion, Whirlaway, a Triple Crown winner, was exceptional at the Kentucky Derby, where he tied the record by winning by the largest margin. He set a new derby record at 2:01 time, which remained for 21 years. He never finished worse than third in all of his 42 races.
In 1943, the Count fleet was unstoppable. He won the Triple Crown and was dominant throughout. He also set the record for the fastest mile by a two-year-old and won the Belmont Stakes by 25, breaking the stakes record.
Another stallion breed and first colt bred outside of Kentucky to win at the Kentucky Derby and the only Texas-bred horse to win the Triple Crown.
Right from the beginning, Citation was phenomenal. He won eight out of nine races and straight 16 races, including the Triple Crown as a two-year-old. At his retirement, Citation won 27 of his 29 races. A stellar record indeed.
In 1973, Secretariat ended the drought of 25 years of no one winning the Triple Crown. He set records in all the Kentucky, Preakness and Belmont races. In the Belmont Stakes, he won by 30 lengths and was also the fastest 1 ½ miles on dirt in history. He was a sports icon and had an exceptional record. He also won horse of the year as a two-year-old and a three-year-old.
Seattle Slew was the first horse to win the Triple Crown undefeated. He also won nine straight races, including the three major races.
This year the Triple Crown starts at the 2022 Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May. The stakes will be high as always, and the fans’ excitement is peaking already.