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The Triple Crown Trophy

The Triple Crown

Updated: 06/09/14

Only eleven horses have won the elusive Triple Crown. The grueling schedule of three races in 5 weeks at longer distances than most have run previously in their careers is probably the most difficult task any horse will face in his racing career. Big Brown failed in 2008 when he completely fell apart in the Belmont Stakes and was pulled up around the final turn then eased down the stretch. I'll Have Another had his chance in 2012, but sadly he was scratched due to an injury the day before the Belmont Stakes and retired to stud. This year, California Chrome looked almost certain to become the 12th Triple Crown winner after his victories in both the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. However, he struggled in the Belmont Stakes and finished in a dead heat for fourth behind Tonalist. And so we wait again...

Affirmed in 1978 still remains the last Triple Crown winner, as we wait for the next colt to step up and join this exclusive group. Sadly, the last Triple Crown winner left alive, Seattle Slew, passed away on May 7, 2002.

Year Name Jockey Trainer Owner
1919 Sir Barton John Loftus H. G. Bedwell J. K. L. Ross
1930 Gallant Fox Earl Sande James Fitzsimmons Belair Stud
1935 Omaha William Saunders James Fitzsimmons Belair Stud
1937 War Admiral Charley Kurtsinger George Conway Samuel D. Riddle
1941 Whirlaway Eddie Arcaro Ben A. Jones Calumet Farm
1943 Count Fleet John Longden Don Cameron Mrs. J. D. Hertz
1946 Assault Warren Mehrtens Max Hirsch King Ranch
1948 Citation Eddie Arcaro Ben A. Jones Calumet Farm
1973 Secretariat Ron Turcotte Lucien Laurin Meadow Stable
1977 Seattle Slew Jean Cruguet William Turner, Jr. Karen L. Taylor
1978 Affirmed Steve Cauthen Lazaro S. Barrera Harbor View Farm

Birdstone (outside) defeats Smarty Jones in the 2004 Belmont Stakes
There have been 47 horses who won two out of the three Triple Crown races but only 23 who won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness only to fail in the Belmont Stakes. The list below gives those horses along with where they finished in the Belmont and who beat them. Six of the 23 were in the last 13 years, so we are more than due for someone to finally win. Hopefully some talented 3-year-old will step up and get the job done this year.

Triple Crown Near Misses (Derby/Preakness doubles)
Year Horse Belmont finish
1932 Burgoo King (Did not start)
1936 Bold Venture (Did not start)
1944 Pensive 2nd (Bounding Home)
1958 Tim Tam 2nd (Cavan)
1961 Carry Back 7th (Sherluck)
1964 Northern Dancer 3rd (Quadrangle)
1966 Kauai King 4th (Amberoid)
1968 **Forward Pass 2nd (Stage Door Johnny)
1969 Majestic Prince 2nd (Arts and Letters)
1971 Canonero II 4th (Pass Catcher)
1979 Spectacular Bid 3rd (Coastal)
1981 Pleasant Colony 3rd (Summing)
1987 Alysheba 4th (Bet Twice)
1989 Sunday Silence 2nd (Easy Goer)
1997 Silver Charm 2nd (Touch Gold)
1998 Real Quiet 2nd (Victory Gallop)
1999 Charismatic 3rd (Lemon Drop Kid)
2002 War Emblem 8th (Sarava)
2003 Funny Cide 3rd (Empire Maker)
2004 Smarty Jones 2nd (Birdstone)
2008 Big Brown DNF (Da'Tara)
2012 I'll Have Another (Did not start)
2014 California Chrome 4th (Tonalist)
**Won on disqualification.

Here are the 24 horses who won either the Derby/Belmont or Preakness/Belmont double but lost the other race, along with how they finished in that race.

Triple Crown Near Misses
(Derby/Belmont or Preakness/Belmont doubles)
Year Horse Races Won Race Lost (Winner)
1920 Man O'War Preakness/Belmont did not run in the Derby
1922 Pillory Preakness/Belmont did not run in the Derby
1923 Zev Derby/Belmont 12th Preakness (Vigil)
1931 Twenty Grand Derby/Belmont 2nd Preakness (Mate)
1939 Johnstown Derby/Belmont 5th Preakness (Challedon)
1940 Bimelech Preakness/Belmont 2nd Derby (Gallahadion)
1942 Shut Out Derby/Belmont 5th Preakness (Alsab
1949 Capot Preakness/Belmont 2nd Derby (Ponder)
1950 Middleground Derby/Belmont 2nd Preakness (Hill Prince)
1953 Native Dancer Preakness/Belmont 2nd Derby (Dark Star)
1955 Nashua Preakness/Belmont 2nd Derby (Swaps)
1956 Needles Derby/Belmont 2nd Preakness (Fabius)
1963 Chateaugay Derby/Belmont 2nd Preakness (Candy Spots)
1967 Damascus Preakness/Belmont 3rd Derby (Proud Clarion)
1972 Riva Ridge Derby/Belmont 4th Preakness (Bee Bee Bee)
1974 Little Current Preakness/Belmont 5th Derby (Cannonade)
1976 Bold Forbes Derby/Belmont 3rd Preakness (Elocutionist)
1984 Swale Derby/Belmont 7th Preakness (Gate Dancer)
1988 Risen Star Preakness/Belmont 3rd Derby (Winning Colors)
1991 Hansel Preakness/Belmont 10th Derby (Strike the Gold)
1994 Tabasco Cat Preakness/Belmont 6th Derby (Go For Gin)
1995 Thunder Gulch Derby/Belmont 3rd Preakness (Timber Country)
2001 Point Given Preakness/Belmont 5th Derby (Monarchos)
2005 Afleet Alex Preakness/Belmont 3rd Derby (Giacomo)

More Triple Crown info online:

  • Triple Crown Links - lots of info about all three races, including this year and past years
  • Triple Crown stats - includes the running times for each race, owner, breeder, jockey, trainer, etc

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