The Triple Crown series is the most beloved and anticipated annual sporting event. It’s a championship where three-year-old thoroughbreds race in three succeeding races to get crowned and bring home the Triple Crown trophy. To earn the trophy, the thoroughbreds must win all three races.
Get ready for the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby, on May 6, 2023, and get to know the five interesting facts about the Triple Crown. These facts tell fans, bettors, and the audience about the rich history of this beloved tournament. Continue reading to learn your facts!
Kentucky Derby Is Dubbed “The Run for the Roses”
If you’re considering betting on Kentucky Derby, you should know that the first leg of the Triple Crown is also called “The Run for the Roses.” It’s because a blanket of 554 red roses is awarded to the winner of the Kentucky Derby annually.
It’s a tradition that organizers follow today. The tradition originated in 1883 when E. Berry Wall, a New York City socialite, presented roses to the ladies at a post-Derby party. In the race, the roses symbolize the crown. It symbolizes the struggles (roses’ thorns) and the will needed to reach the winners’ circle. Since 1987, the Kroger Company has been making the garland for the Kentucky Derby winner.
Only 13 Thoroughbred Horses Won the Triple Crown
As you know, the Triple Crown series consists of three races. The distance for the Kentucky Derby’s first race is 10 furlongs or 1/4 mile. The second race, the Preakness Stakes, is a distance of 9.5 furlongs or 1 3/16 miles, a bit shorter than the first race. Lastly, Belmont Stakes, the last leg, which is much longer, is a distance of 12 furlongs 1 1/2 miles.
So far, there have only been 13 horses who ever won the Triple Crown series. Numerous horses have won the first two legs of the series but failed during the last leg of the Triple Crown. Since the horses are racing a distance of 12 furlongs, it is indeed a challenge to these thoroughbreds. The following are the winners of the Triple Crown, in order:
- Sir Barton (1919)
- War Admiral (1837)
- Citation (1948)
- Justify (2018)
- Whirlaway (1941)
- Affirmed (1978)
- Assault (1946)
- Seattle Slew (1977)
- Omaha (1935)
- American Pharaoh (2015)
- Gallant Fox (1930)
- Secretariat (1973)
- Count Fleet (1943)
Related: The Verdict Of The Triple Crown
The Three Races Was Inaugurated in Varying Years.
Belmont Stakes is the oldest race and the third leg in the Triple Crown. It was inaugurated by August Belmont Sr. on June 19, 1867, at the Jerome Park Racetrack. The Belmont Stakes was named after Belmont Sr., a diplomat, financier, and sportsman.
The second race to get inaugurated was the Preakness Stakes, which was inaugurated in 1873 at Pimlico. The second leg was named after the winner in the Dinner Party Stakes in the opening year of the Preakness Stakes in 1870. The colt horse was named Preakness.
Lastly, the last race to be inaugurated was the Triple Crown’s first leg, the Kentucky Derby. It was established on May 17, 1875. A total of 10,000 fans watched the first race, where 15 three-year-old thoroughbreds raced for 1 1/2 miles at Churchill Downs in Kentucky.
The Triple Crown Was Introduced in 1950
The three races have a long and rich history. Still, it was only in December 1950 that the Triple Crown was formally proclaimed at the annual awards dinner of the Thoroughbred Racing Association. Before this proclamation, there was already a winner of the Triple Crown series, as observed from the section above.
As a result of this proclamation, the Triple Crown trophy was commissioned in the same year and awarded to the previous winners, including Sir Barton, the first winner of the Triple Crown series.
The Longest Gap between Triple Crown Winners Was 35 Years.
Back in 1978, thoroughbred Affirmed won all three races of the Triple Crown. After his crowning, there was a drought in Triple Crown history as not one horse won for 35 years. It was the longest drought ever, and it began in the following year, 1979, when Spectacular Bid failed his attempt at the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes. The contenders’ efforts lasted until American Pharaoh won the Crown in 2015.
Of course, there were plenty of misses during these 35 years. Between 1979 and 2014, 13 horses like I’ll Have Another won in the race’s first and second leg: The Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, but sadly lost in the Belmont Stakes. Indeed, the Belmont Stakes is the Test of the Champions.
As you’ve read above, the most recent winner was Justify in 2018. But who knows? There may be a 2023 winner in this Triple Crown series. Look for the top contenders and mark your favorites at the Kentucky Derby.
Use your wits and knowledge this May 6, 2023. Start gathering your tools and weapons this year by researching information about the contenders and how you can secure your win, just like how you took the time to read the five interesting facts about the Triple Crown series.
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