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Who Are the Winners of the Triple Crown?

The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing is the ultimate achievement a racehorse can attain.

In order to become a Triple Crown champion, a Thoroughbred horse of 3 years old must win all three consecutive legs, or “jewels” of the series in a single season. The series consists of same three prominent races – the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. Each of these three races are selective to only three year old thoroughbreds, leaving a racehorse only gets one opoortunity in their life to challenge for the Triple Crown. It is a feat that, as of late, has seldom occured with only two horses since Jimmy Carter was President accomplishing the feat. 

Perhaps the most well known of the three races is the Kentucky Derby, which takes place in Louisville on the first Saturday of May every year. There is typically a crowd of about 155,000 people in attendance watching a full day of competition, but it’s the “Run For the Roses” race that crowns the champion of the day. The race is one and one quarter miles long, which is the second longest race of the series. 

Next comes the Preakness Stakes, which occurs on the third Saturday of May every year at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. First established in 1873, the Preakness Stakes is known as “The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans” because the winning horse is draped in a blanket of Maryland’s state flower. This race is the shortest of the three triple crown races, lasting only 1 and 3/16ths of a mile (1,900 meters). 

Last is the Belmont Stakes, which takes place on the first Saturday of June, at the Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. First run in 1867, the Long Island dirt racetrack has earned the name of “The Championship Track” as nearly every American Champion has competed at Belmont Park. Lasting 1 ½ miles, the course is also known as the “The Test of Champions.”

Three unique tracks at three different distances. Much like human runners, horses tend to have a specialty distance. In order to master all three challenges, a horse has to have both the footspeed and endurance.

In all of racing history, only thirteen horses have been crowned as the Triple Crown champion:

The longest gap of time in between Triple Crown winners lasted 35 years, between Affirmed who won in 1978, and American Pharoah who won in 2015. As of 2023, there has never been a female horse to win the Triple Crown.

Do you want to see a potential Triple Crown winner yourself? Join us in Louisville.

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