The Triple Crown, which goes under the official name of Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, is a mega American horse racing event comprising three legs. Meant for thoroughbred horses aged three, the Triple Crown is awarded to the thoroughbred who wins all the three legs of the event. A thoroughbred horse that wins the Triple Crown is said to have achieved the ultimate in thoroughbred racing.
US Triple Crown
The US Triple Crown is a competition comprised of 3 separate racing events namely the Belmont Stakes, the Preakness Stakes and the Kentucky Derby. The Crown event begins with the Derby and ends with Belmont Stakes event.
The Kentucky Derby is the most widely attended horse racing events in America, and not even the Preakness Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup attract such huge crowds. The Derby is more a cultural and traditional event than a thoroughbred horse race. The race is run over a distance of 2.01km at Churchill Downs at Louisville in Kentucky.
The Preakness Stakes, the second most popular of The Triple Crown events, is also associated with interesting traditions. The race is run over a dirt track of 1.91km at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore in Maryland.
The third and final leg of the US Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes, which is run over a dirt track of 2.41kms at Belmont Park in New York.
National Triple Tiara
Initially called the Filly Triple Crown, this racing event has now been given the title “National Triple Tiara.” The race itself is meant for fillies and comprises three events called the Kentucky Oaks, the Acorn Stakes and the Black-eyed Susan Stakes. Davona Dale is the only filly who won the National Triple Tiara in 1979.
Triple Crown Winners
The last US Triple Crown was won 34 years ago, in 1978, by a thoroughbred racehorse called Affirmed. Sir Barton, a horse belonging to J. K. L. Ross and bred by John E. Madden, won the first ever US Triple Crown in 1919.
Other US Triple Crown winners are War Admiral (1937), Assault (1946), Secretariat (1973), Citation (1948) Whirlaway (1941) and Seattle Slew (1977).
Sir Barton, the first Triple Crown winner, at the 1919 Preakness Stakes
Other Triple Crowns
Several countries organize their own versions of the Triple Crown. Winning a Triple Crown is very rare these days as thoroughbred horses specialize in specific distance ranges. Versions of the Triple Crown are organized in countries such as UK, Ireland, Australia, Germany, Turkey, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Italy, Macau, Argentina, Chile, Dominican Republic, Panama, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Ecuador, and Venezuela.
For instance, the Triple Crown in England comprises the 2000 Guineas Stakes, which is run over a distance of 1 mile at Newmarket Racecourse in Suffolk; the Epsom Derby, which is run over 2,423m at the Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey; and the St. Leger Stakes, which is run over a distance of 2,937m at Town Moor in Yorkshire. Although the races have been run for the past 150 years, only 15 horses have won the English Triple Crown so far.