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History of the Triple Crown


Triple Crown immortality is horse racing's greatest honor. Countless horses have tried and only 11 have succeeded.

In 1919, Sir Barton was the first horse to claim the Triple Crown, capturing the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in the same year. Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977) and Affirmed (1978) have followed in infamy.

In order to win a Triple Crown, a horse must win three long races in five weeks, at three different tracks, in three different states. Triple Crown hopefuls must first win the Kentucky Derby, where Aristedes grabbed the inaugural "Run for the Roses" in 1875. Barring injury, the Derby winner is shipped to the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes. Survivor was the first Preakness winner in 1873. A Derby-Preakness champ then has a shot at Triple Crown immortality at the Belmont Stakes. The first Belmont winner was Ruthless in 1867.

There have been 18 horses that have won the first two jewels of the Triple Crown and failed to win at the Belmont. Two of them, Burgoo King in 1932 and Bold Venture in 1936, didn't run in New York.

For the fifth time in the last seven years, a horse will go into the Belmont starting gate with a chance to win the Triple Crown. Funny Cide follows the Bob Baffert-trained War Emblem, who in 2002 stumbled at the start of the race and finished eighth. Prior to that attempt, there were three straight years that had horses trying for the Crown: Baffert trainees Silver Charm and Real Quiet each finished second in the Belmont, in 1997 and 1998 respectively, while in 1999, Charismatic came home third.






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