The U.S. Triple Crown Explained

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For a very long time, the thought of the Triple Crown was viewed as impossible: during the 59 years spanning from 1919 through to 1978, only 11 horses managed to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes in the same year. This means an average of around one ever five to six years!

The Triple Crown Reaches Mythical Status

And then, as punters of a certain age who enjoy horse racing as part of the Australian sports betting sites becoming more and more available will remember, the drought descended, after Affirmed last managed the feat in 1978. Ten years. 20 Years. 30 years… Anyone younger than their mid-40s or so will not have any real evidence that anyone has ever managed to take the Triple Crown except for some low-quality videos, most likely taken from before they were born!

Triple Crown trophy

American Pharoah Manages to Break the Spell

And then, in 2015, American Pharoah declared impossible is nothing, and managed the feat in 2015. While horse racing does not still have the same wide range of appeal as it once did, the American imagination was once more captivated when Pharoah completed his historic run at the Belmont Stakes. People tuned in on their TVs, streamed the race online, and even viewed it on the video boards of certain stadiums.

Why We Still Care

 As expensive as it is to get into jump racing or horse racing seriously these days, as an owner or spectator if the truth be told, the Kentucky Derby, which takes place every May still stands as one of the most-viewed sporting events on the American calendar. And, if the Derby winner manages to take first place in the Preakness two weeks later, you will hear his name over and over again, everywhere.

The fact is, while horse racing no longer has the same widespread appeal as it enjoyed in the 1930s, these events make for some rather compelling drama. You may not have any connection to the sport, but the Triple Crown is still a feat to behold. It is also rather enjoyable to make a pick for the winner and then have the answer revealed!


More About the Races Making Up the Triple Crown 

The three jewels in the crown are made up of:

  1. The 1 and 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby, which takes place on the first Saturday in May of every year at the Churchill Downs, in Louisville. A maximum of 20 horses, along with four alternates that are also eligible, are able to enter.
  2. The 1 and 3/16 mile Preakness Stakes, which takes place on the third Saturday of each May at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. 14 horses may enter, along with 2 alternates that are eligible as well.
  3. The 1 1/2 miles Belmont Stakes take place on the third Saturday following the Preakness, at Elmont, New York’s Belmont Park. As many as 16 horses may enter.

All three of these races are listed as Grade 1 races, the highest possible level, and are only open to horses aged three-years old.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 14-time qualifier to the National Handicapping Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He recently won a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with, Rich is also a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program. He is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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