What does horse racing have in common with golf, tennis, baseball and cycling?

May 31, 2018 Jennifer Caldwell/Brisnet.com

Why, a Triple Crown of course.

Justify is seeking to give trainer Bob Baffert a second Triple Crown sweep in just three years, and this after a 37-year drought between Affirmed’s successful bid in 1978 and American Pharoah’s 2015 triumph.

Winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes is one of the toughest tasks in sports, but it’s not the only sequence known as the “Triple Crown.” Other sports have their own Triple Crown series, and they can be just as difficult to accomplish.

So, let’s take a look at other “Triple Crowns.”

  1. Before delving into other sports, let’s return to horse racing for a moment. The Triple Crown series of Derby, Preakness and Belmont is but one in the realm of racing; in fact, it’s not even the first. That honor belongs to the English Triple Crown, comprised of the Two Thousand Guineas, Epsom Derby and St. Leger Stakes. The first horse to win all three races was West Australian in 1853.
    Though the number of English Triple Crown winners stands at 15, three more than the U.S. version, it is more rare. The Two Thousand Guineas was first run in 1809, while the Kentucky Derby started in 1875. Also, the last winner of the English Triple Crown was Nijinsky, who swept all three in 1970.
  2. Departing from the realm of racing completely, let’s take a look at golf. The Triple Crown of Golf involves winning three of the four major championships in a single year. They are the Masters Tournament, which takes place in April at August National Golf Club; the U.S. Open, which is in June hosted at different locations in the United States; the Open Championship, which is played on a links course at one of 10 venues in the United Kingdom in July; and the PGA Championship, which also rotates through different U.S. golf courses in August.

    This particular Triple Crown is for modern golf history and has only been accomplished twice by Ben Hogan (1953) and Tiger Woods (2000). There is another version of the Triple Crown of golf that is comprised of winning the PGA’s three oldest events in the same year: the Open Championship, U.S. Open and Canadian Open. Tiger Woods also accomplished this feat in 2000 but Lee Trevino was the first to sweep all three in 1971.

  3. Tennis has its own version of a Triple Crown and, though it’s not too common in modern history, it has been swept a number of times. The Triple Crown of Tennis is not any specific tournament or match but is comprised of a player winning the titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles in a Grand Slam event.

    One of the more well-known figures to have succeeded was Billie Jean King, who in 1967 won singles, doubles (with Rosie Casals) and mixed doubles (with Owen Davidson) in the US Open. She did the same, with the same partners, at Wimbledon in 1973, though that is overshadowed by her victory in the “Battle of the Sexes” match against Bobby Riggs in the same year.

  4. Perhaps one of the most recognizable Triple Crowns is the Triple Crown of Baseball. There are actually multiple Triple Crowns in baseball, but in general is it used in regards to batting. When a batter completes a season leading in batting average, home runs and runs batted in (RBI), he is crowned a Triple Crown winner.

    One of the other Triple Crowns in baseball is the Pitching Triple Crown, where a pitcher must lead in wins, strikeouts and earned run average (ERA) for the season.

  5. The Triple Crown of Cycling is considered a major achievement by followers of that sport. To secure that honor, a cyclist must triumph in three major titles during the same season. Some argue it applies to a specific three titles – the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the Road World Cycling Championship – but others claim the Vuelta a Espana is a worthy substitute for the Giro d’Italia.

    Thus far, only two have won the unofficial Triple Crown of Cycling: Eddy Merckx (1974) and Stephen Roche (1987). The pair did so in the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Road World Cycling Championship.

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