What Is The Triple Crown In Horse Racing?
The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, often shortened to the Triple Crown, is a title awarded to a Thoroughbred horse who wins the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.
Winning all three races is considered one of the greatest accomplishments in Thoroughbred racing and has been referred to as the “crown jewel” of American horse racing.
Who Has Achieved The Triple Crown?
The Triple Crown was first completed when Sir Barton won all three races in 1919. Since then, only thirteen horses have achieved this rare honor: Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), American Pharoah (2015), Justify (2018), and Authentic (2020).
Where Does The Term “Triple Crown” Come From?
The term “Triple Crown” was first used when Gallant Fox became the second horse to win all three races in 1930. The term did not become widely used until the Mid-20th century. Prior to 1930, the two most recent winners of all three races were Man o’ War (1920) and Sir Barton (1919), so journalists began calling the then-current trio of winners the “Three Musketeers of the Turf.”
What Are The Three Legs?
Leg 1: Kentucky Derby
A horse must first win the Kentucky Derby to win the Triple Crown. The Derby is a 1.25-mile race for 3-year-old thoroughbred horses held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It is the most important race of the year for 3-year-olds and is known as “the most exciting two minutes in sports.”
Leg 2: The Preakness Stakes
The Preakness Stakes is the second leg and is held two weeks after the Kentucky Derby. The Preakness is one 3/16-mile race for 3-year-old thoroughbred horses held at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.
Leg 3: The Belmont Stakes
The Belmont Stakes is the third and final leg. It is a 1.5-mile race for 3-year-old thoroughbred horses held at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The Belmont is known as “the test of the champion” because it is the longest of the three races and often separates the true champion horses from the rest.
Difficulty To Achieve
Winning all three of these races is an extremely difficult feat, as it requires both skill and a bit of luck. Overall, it is truly the pinnacle of American horse racing. It is an amazing accomplishment for any horse and his team. Winning all three races is a testament to the horse’s talent, strength, and determination.