United States Triple Crown

United States Triple Crown

Click on the links to find more details on the three elite races that make up the United States Triple Crown:

The United States was one of the original countries to conduct a three-year-old Triple Crown series and the U.S. Triple Crown is by far the most popular and recognised of all those held across the globe. The three events, held during May and early June annually that make up the title are the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. The Triple Crown in the U.S. came to be after owners and trainers began sending their horses to the Preakness and Belmont Stakes after they had run in the esteemed Kentucky Derby because these were the other two races to offer the most in prizemoney. The expression ‘Triple Crown’ came into play in 1930 when Gallant Fox became only the second horse in history to claim victory in all three races; the first was Sir Barton in 1919. When writing about Gallant Fox’s incredible achievement, sportswriter Charles Hatton coined the phrase and brought it into American usage.

The first leg of the series is the Kentucky Derby, which is held at the Churchill Downs racetrack on the first Saturday in May. It is raced over 1 ? miles (2012m) under set weight conditions and is worth U.S. $2 million.

The middle leg of the series is the Preakness Stakes that takes place on the third Saturday of May. Held at the Pimlico Race Course in Maryland, the race is run over a distance of 1 3/16 miles (1911m) under set weight conditions and is worth U.S. $1.1 million.

The final leg of the series is the Belmont Stakes held at Belmont Park racecourse in New York on the first or second Saturday in June. The race is run over 1 ? miles (2414m) under set weight conditions and offers a prize purse of U.S. $1 million.

Throughout history there have been 11 horses to win the Triple Crown, ridden by eleven different jockeys. The last was Affirmed back in 1978 creating a Triple Crown victory drought of over thirty years. Because of this gap, a win in the Triple Crown today would be considered even more impressive. The details of the United States Triple Crown winners are listed in the table below, including the name of the jockey, trainer and owner for each horse to achieve this incredible feat.

United States Triple Crown Winners:






Sir Barton
Johnny Loftus H.G. Bedwell J.K.L. Ross
Gallant Fox
Earl Sande Jim Fitzsimmons Belair Stud
Willie Saunders Jim Fitzsimmons Belair Stud
War Admiral
Charley Kurtsinger George Conway Samuel D. Riddel
Eddie Arcaro Ben A. Jones Calumet Farm
Count Fleet
Johnny Longden Don Cameron Fannie Hertz
Warren Mehrtens Max Hirsch King Ranch
Eddie Arcaro Horace A. Jones Calumet Farm
Ron Turcotte Lucien Laurin Meadow Stable
Seattle Slew
Jean Cruguet Willian H. Turner, Jr. Karen L. Taylor
Steve Cauthen Laz Barrera Harbor View Farm

Many other quality horses have come close to Triple Crown success, seeing victory in two of the three nominated events. A total of 21 horses have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes; 18 have won the Preakness Stakes followed by success in the Belmont Stakes; and 11 horses have been victorious in the first and last leg of the series missing out on the Preakness Stakes.

The most successful Triple Crown trainers include Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons, the only trainer to have won two Triple Crowns with Gallant Fox (1930) and Omaha (1935). And D. Wayne Lukas, the only trainer, owner or jockey to win the Triple Crown races with different runners in 1995 with Thunder Gulch in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes and Timber Country in the Preakness Stakes.