American Triple Crown

American Triple Crown

The American Triple Crown is one of the toughest challenges any horse will undertake and to win it is the highest honour in American horse racing. The Triple Crown is made up of three races starting with the Kentucky Derby followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Only horses aged 3 years old are eligible to enter the Triple Crown and they will have to show a great deal of stamina to win three tough races in just five weeks if they want to capture the once in a life time prize.

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday in May each year and is run on the Churchill Downs Racecourse in Louisville, Kentucky. The Kentucky Derby is arguably the most popular and well known horse race in America and is a Grade 1 status race which is run over one and a quarter miles. The Kentucky Derby is known in America as " the most exciting two minutes in sports" due to the average duration the race lasts. There is a fantastic roll of honour for the Kentucky Derby and the first winner was Aristides who won the race in May 1875.

Preakness Stakes

The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the Triple Crown which means it will nearly always attract the Kentucky Derby winner and is traditionally held two weeks after the Derby in mid May. The Preakness is a Grade 1 status race and is run on the Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland. The Race is known as the " Run for the Black-Eyed Susans" as the winning horse is draped in a rug of Black-Eyed Susans which is the state flower of Maryland. The Preakness is run over 1.3 miles and was first run in 1873 when it was won by a horse called Survivior who cruised home ten lengths clear of the pack.

Belmont Stakes

The third and final leg of the Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes which is held five weeks after the Kentucky Derby in early June. The Belmont Stakes is the oldest of the Triple Crown races as well as the longest at one and a half miles so any horse hoping to complete the Triple Crown by winning the Belmont faces a huge task. The Belmont Stakes is a grade 1 status race and was first won by a horse called Ruthless in 1867. The race is known as the " Run for the carnations" as each winning horse is draped in a rug of white carnations.

Past Winners of American Triple Crown

The fact that there has only been eleven winners of the Triple Crown in its entire history highlights the huge task which faces any horse hoping to take home the coveted prize. Indeed, there has been no winner of all three races since 1978 when Affirmed triumphed. Here is a list of  the eleven horses who are in the exclusive club of American Triple Crown Winners.

1978AffirmedSteve CauthenLazaro Barrera
1977Seattle SlewJean CruguetWilliam Turner Jnr
1973SecretariatRon TurcotteLucien Laurin
1948CitationEddie ArcaroH.A."Jimmy" Jones
1946AssaultWarren MehrtensMax Hirsch
1943Count FleetJohn LongdenDon Cameron
1941WhirlawayEddie AcaroBen A Jones
1937War AdmiralCharles KurtsingerGeorge Conway
1935OmahaWilliam SaundersJames Fitzsimmons
1930Gallant FoxEarl SandeJames Fitzsimmons
1915Sir BartonJohn LoftusH.Guy Bedswell