The Triple Crown is the Super Bowl of horse racing. Rather, it’s even more exclusive than the biggest sporting event in America year after year. An NFL team wins the Super Bowl every year, whereas the Triple Crown is one of the rarest feats in sports.
The Triple Crown has been up for grabs for over 140 years, but not even 15 racehorses have accomplished the arduous three-peat. So, how many have etched their names in history and who was the latest to do so?
What is the Triple Crown in horse racing?
Many believe the Triple Crown in horse racing to be one of the most impressive accomplishments in all of sports. It requires a three-year old thoroughbred horse to win three straight races in the span of five weeks.
The journey starts in the Kentucky Derby as historic Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Derby is the longest-running sporting event in the United States. The first running was all the way back in 1875. Besides the actual horse race, the Kentucky Derby is a party and the biggest event of the year for racing fans.
If you can conquer the Run for the Roses, the Preakness Stakes awaits. The Preakness is the second leg of the Triple Crown held at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. It might be the least popular of the three races, but you still have to triumph at the Preakness to win the Triple Crown.
The chase ends at the Belmont Stakes, which is held at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The Belmont is the longest of the three races, so it tests a horse’s stamina and finishing ability more than the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.
Win all three, and the Triple Crown is yours. Easy enough, right? Well, not so fast.
Only 13 racehorses have won the elusive Triple Crown
It’s hard enough to win one leg of the Triple Crown. But all three? Only the best of the best in the history of horse racing have accomplished the feat.
In over 140 years of the events, only 13 racehorses have won the Triple Crown. Sir Barton was the first to do so in 1919. Eleven years later, Gallant Fox became the second. Secretariat won it in 1973 in what remains the most dominant performance in racing history.
Ten horses accomplished the feat from 1930-1978, but the sport went through a bit of a drought afterward. After a 37-year hiatus, it finally returned thanks to Bob Baffert’s American Pharoah.
Justify was the last racehorse to win the Triple Crown
After American Pharoah, Baffert hit another iconic winner with Justify. Justify won the Triple Crown fairly easily in 2018, and he’s the last horse to accomplish the three-peat.
Here’s the entire list of Triple Crown winners throughout the years:
- Sir Barton (1919)
- 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)
All stats courtesy of KentuckyDerby.com