The Triple Crown is awarded to a horse that wins the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes in the same year. Only 12 horses have won since 1919. The races are open to three-year-old Thoroughbred horses, and the winner is awarded a prize of five million US dollars. The Kentucky Derby is the first race, followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. The Belmont Stakes is considered the most grueling race in the series. The Triple Crown is seen as the premier rides in the horse racing world.
The Triple Crown of horse racing is awarded to a horse that wins the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in the same year. As of 2015, only 12 horses had won the Triple Crown since 1919 when Sir Barton dominated the field in all three races. The races are only open to three-year-old Thoroughbred horses, and to win the Triple Crown, a horse must be in top condition for all three. Winning all three races is considered an immense honor and the list of winners includes the names of famous equine athletes such as Secretariat, Seattle Slew, War Admiral and Affirmed. The winner of the Triple Crown is awarded a prize of five million US dollars, in addition to the substantial prizes up for grabs in all three races.
The first race is the Kentucky Derby, which has been run at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May since 1875. The race is among the oldest sporting events in South America and is called the “Run for the Roses” because of the draped blanket of roses on the victor’s neck. The Dersi runs over a distance of one and a quarter miles (2 kilometres) and is a little earlier in the season than many other races. For this reason, the horse must be brought to racing condition early and maintained that way throughout the Triple Crown if he is to stand a chance of winning the coveted prize.
The second race, the Preakness Stakes, is held on the third Saturday in May at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. It was first performed in 1873 and has been run over a variety of distances. Since 1925, the Preakness Stakes has been officially run at one and three sixteenths of a mile (1.91 kilometres) and is the shortest race in the series. Winning the Preakness Stakes requires sprinting skills and excellent positioning skills on the part of the jockey. The Preakness Stakes is also called the “Run for the Black Eyed Susans,” after the blanket made from the Maryland state flower that is draped over the winner.
The Belmont Stakes, opened in 1867, is considered the most grueling race in the series. The race is 2.4 kilometers long and horses that do well in the first two races cannot always reach the distance. The race is run in June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The winner is decorated with a blanket of carnations after running the race. A win in the Belmont requires excellent pacing skills on the part of horse and rider, and stamina combined with the horse’s will to win.
Since sportswriter Charles Hatton coined the term “Triple Crown” in 1930, the three events have been enthusiastically followed by many people across the United States. Even those who aren’t horse racing enthusiasts tend to keep track of the Triple Crown events, and they are seen as the premier rides in the horse racing world. For jockeys, riding a horse in a Triple Crown race is a great honor and taking the horse to the Triple Crown is a career crowning achievement. Owners and trainers are also keen to send horses to Derby, Preakness and Belmont, due to the immense prestige of the races.