The horse racing Triple Crown consisted of a series of three races, all run by three-year olds. The first leg is the Kentucky Derby, always run on the first Saturday in May. The distance is a mile and a quarter. This will be the first time these horses run a mile and a quarter but that will be a classic distance they will run over and over again in the future.
The second leg of the Triple Crown is the Preakness Stakes, run two weeks after the Kentucky Derby. The Preakness Stakes distance is a mile and three-sixteenths. The major challenge for many horses is that the return after only two weeks is non-traditional for this generation of horses. Many horses that do not make the Kentucky Derby field will enter the Preakness Stakes.
The final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes is the oldest of all the Triple Crown races, eight years older than the Kentucky Derby and six years older than the Preakness Stakes, dating back to its inception in 1867 at Jerome Park. This true test will be the final leg of the Triple Crown for any horse looking to join racing immortality. The Belmont Stakes is run at a distance that no horse has seen before and probably will not again, a mile and a half.
Throughout history some of the greatest horses of all time have completed their Triple Crown bid at the Belmont Stakes to include Sir Barton (1919), War Admiral (1937), Count Fleet (1943), Citation (1948), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978 and the recording setting 31 length victory of Secretariat (1973). During the 1973 edition Secretariat set the stakes record of 2:24 when no other horse has approached with the closest being Easy Goer (2:26) and A.P. Indy (1992). Do you remember that race? Were you even alive when Secretariat smashed the record?
(Video Courtesy of wyocalboy)
|1919||Sir Barton||John Loftus|
|1930||Gallant Fox||Earl Sande|
|1937||War Admiral||Charley Kurtsinger|
|1943||Count Fleet||John Longden|
|1977||Seattle Slew||Jean Cruguet|
|2015||American Pharoah||Victor Espinoza|
However 23 horses have entered Belmont Park looking to win the Triple Crown and all fell short. In this millennium alone War Emblem (2002), Funny Cide (2003), Smarty Jones (2004), Big Brown (2008), I’ll Have Another (2012), and California Chrome (2014) all fell short. Some were close like Funny Cide (3rd) and Smarty Jones (2nd), others just did not perform such as Big Brown who did not finish and I’ll Have Another who was scratched due to injury. Of all, Smarty Jones was the closest as he was chased down in the final furlong by Birdstone. Just listen to the end of the call to hear the despair.
(Video Courtesy of The New York Racing Association)
|1932||Burgoo King||Did not Start||Faireno|
|1936||Bold Venture||Did Not Start||Granville|
|1968||Forward Pass (DQ)||2nd||Stage Door Johnny|
|1969||Majestic Prince||2nd||Arts and Letters|
|1971||Canonero II||4th||Pass Catcher|
|1989||Sunday Silence||2nd||Easy Goer|
|1997||Silver Charm||2nd||Touch Gold|
|1998||Real Quiet||2nd||Victory Gallop|
|1999||Charismatic||3rd||Lemon Drop Kid|
|2003||Funny Cide||3rd||Empire Maker|
|2004||Smarty Jones||2nd||Smarty Jones|
|2012||I'll Have Another||Did Not Start||Union Rags|