The Difficulty of The Triple Crown

The Triple Crown TropyNumerous sports have the equivalent of horse racing’s Triple Crown, which is sweeping the three Classic events for three year old runners – the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and  the Belmont Stakes. With three races packed in a tough, five-week schedule and the longest of the three, the Belmont, at the conclusion, sweeping all three has been extremely difficult.

Eleven horses have accomplished this amazing feat, but the last horse to do so was the great Affirmed back in 1978.

Numerous horses have come close in recent years:

2008 Big Brown

2005 Afleet Aleet

2004 Smart Jones

2003 Funny Cide

2002 War Emblem

2001 Point Given

1999 Charismatic

1998 Real Quiet

1997 Silver Charm

1995 Thunder Gulch

Other great horses that won two of the three events but were unable to sweep the Crown include Sunday Silence, Risen Star, Alysheba, Swale, Spectacular Bid and Pleasant Colony.

Other Sports

GOLF: Only one golfer has won all 4 majors in a single year, that being Bobby Jones in 1930. The Tiger Slam back in 2000-1 covered two years.

TENNIS: Five singles players – Don Budge, Rod Laver, Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court and Steffi Graf – have won the Tennis Grand Slam.

BASEBALL: It’s been 44 years since a batter led the league in average, home runs and runs batted in. That was the Yaz, Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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