Triple Crown

A series of horse races for three-year-old thoroughbreds consisting of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.


The Triple Crown is a series of three thoroughbred horse races for three-year-old horses, which take place in May and early June of each year. The Triple Crown of horse racing is considered one of the most difficult accomplishments in horse racing, and possibly all of sports championships. The grueling schedule requires a three year old horse to win the Kentucky Derby, then two weeks later win the Preakness Stakes, and then three weeks later win the Belmont Stakes. In all of racing history, only thirteen horses have achieved the Triple Crown.



YEAR                                    HORSE                               
1919 Sir Barton
1930 Gallant Fox
1935 Omaha
1937 War Admiral
1941 Whirlaway
1943 Count Fleet
1946 Assault
1948 Citation
1973 Secretariat
1977 Seattle Slew
1978 Affirmed
2015 American Pharaoh
2018 Justify




The Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, is held at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, and has traditionally been held on the third Saturday in May, two weeks after the Kentucky Derby. It, too, has often attracted crowds in excess of 100,000.

The shortest of the three Triple Crown events, the Preakness is run over a distance of 1 3/16 miles, making it one-sixteenth of a mile shorter than the 1 1/4-mile Derby.

The Preakness was inaugurated in 1873, two years before the Derby, but its early history was marked by various changes in conditions and distance, as well as several years when it was not run. However, race conditions have been largely untouched over the last century.

In addition to having showcased Triple Crown greats such as Citation and Secretariat, the Preakness has also been won by Hall of Fame worthy champions who, for one reason or another, missed out on Kentucky Derby glory. Among that group were Man o’ War, Native Dancer, Nashua, Bold Ruler, and Damascus.

There have been two filly winners of the Preakness in this century, the most notable being 2019 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra.

Calumet Farm is the all-time leading owner of Preakness winners with seven. The leading trainer in race history is Bob Baffert, who has won the race eight times since 1997, while the late Eddie Arcaro is the all-time winningest rider of Preakness winners with six, including Triple Crown winners Whirlaway and Citation.


The Belmont Stakes, the third jewel of U.S. Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, is the oldest and longest of the three classics.

Inaugurated in 1867 at old Jerome Park in the Bronx, the race was transferred to nearby Morris Park in 1890. It found its permanent home in 1905, with the establishment of Belmont Park. Both the race and the racetrack are named in honor of the financier, statesman, and influential owner/breeder August Belmont I.

The distance of the Belmont, initially set at 1 5/8 miles, also varied over the course of its early history. In 1926, the classic became fixed at 1 1/2 miles, the circumference of the vast Belmont Park circuit.

Like the Belmont itself, the Triple Crown took time to evolve as a concept. The first horse to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont – Sir Barton (1919) – was recognized as a Triple Crown winner after the fact. The series was beginning to crystallize by the time Gallant Fox (1930) swept the three classics, and the mystique of the Triple Crown gained hold.

The Belmont has been dubbed “The Test of the Champion.” Befitting that moniker, the race’s honor roll features many all-time greats of the sport.

Triple Crown champion Secretariat demolished the 1973 running by 31 lengths, in a record time of 2:24 that will probably never be approached. A legend of an earlier era, Man o’ War, drubbed his lone opponent by 20 lengths in the 1920 Belmont. Count Fleet, the 1943 Triple Crown winner, romped by 25 lengths.

In addition to Triple Crown sweepers Justify, American Pharoah, Affirmed, Seattle Slew, Citation, Assault, Whirlaway, War Admiral, and Omaha, other famous Belmont winners include A.P. Indy, Damascus, Gallant Man, Nashua, Native Dancer, and undefeated Colin.

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