The US Triple Crown

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 05: A general view of the start of the 133rd Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2007 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The US Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing includes three races, each for three-year-old thoroughbreds:

  • The Kentucky Derby, raced on the first Saturday of May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • The Preakness Stakes raced two weeks later at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • The Belmont Stakes, raced in early June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.

Triple Crown Productions offers a bonus of US$5 million for any US Triple Crown winner.

Winning the US Triple Crown is the ultimate accomplishment for a thoroughbred horse. In over 125 years, only 11 horses have achieved this distinction. The last horse to take all three races was Affirmed, in 1978 – making it a full 30 years since the last Triple Crown win.

Since 1978, a total of ten horses have won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes in the same year. The most recent horse to do this was Smarty Jones, in 2004. However, none of these horses managed to secure a win at Belmont Park.

In 1995, trainer D. Wayne Lukas won all three races, but with two different horses – Thunder Gulch and Timber Country.

US Triple Crown Winners

  • 1919: Sir Barton (jockey Johnny Loftus; trainer H. Guy Bedwell)
  • 1930: Gallant Fox (jockey Earl Sande; trainer Jim Fitzsimmons)
  • 1935: Omaha (jockey Willie Saunders; trainer Jim Fitzsimmons)
  • 1937: War Admiral (jockey Charley Kurtsinger; trainer George Conway)
  • 1941: Whirlaway (jockey Eddie Arcaro; trainer Ben A. Jones)
  • 1943: Count Fleet (jockey Johnny Longden; trainer G. Donald Cameron)
  • 1946: Assault (jockey Warren Mehrtens; trainer Max Hirsch)
  • 1948: Citation (jockey Eddie Arcaro; trainer Horace A. Jones)
  • 1973: Secretariat (jockey Ron Turcotte; trainer Lucien Laurin)
  • 1977: Seattle Slew (jockey Jean Cruguet; trainer William H. Turner)
  • 1978: Affirmed (jockey Steve Cauthen; trainer Laz Barrera)

In both 2006 and 2007, three different horses won each of the races in the Triple Crown. 2007 saw Street Sense win the Kentucky Derby, Curlin win the Preakness and Rags to Riches win the Belmont. Big Brown came close to a Triple Crown in 2008, winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but lost out in the Belmont Stakes to Da’Tara.