Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing

The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing (Triple Crown for short, but the term is also used in other sports, and thus the full name should be used when it could cause confusion) consists of three races for three-year-old thoroughbred horses. Winning all three of these thoroughbred horse races is considered the greatest accomplishment of a thoroughbred racehorse.

In England, where the term Triple Crown originated with West Australian's three wins in 1853, it is made up of:

  1. the Two Thousand Guineas Stakes at Newmarket Heath, Newmarket, Suffolk;
  2. the Epsom Derby at Epsom Downs, Epsom, Surrey;
  3. the St. Leger Stakes at Town Moor, Doncaster, Yorkshire.

In the nearly 200 years that these races have been run, only 15 horses have ever won the English Triple Crown, including the great Nijinsky II. Nijinsky II is only the second horse to have won the English Triple Crown since the end of World War I.

In the United States, in 1930, Gallant Fox won all three important races, and sportswriter Charles Hatton brought the phrase into American usage. The United States Triple Crown is made up of:

  1. the Kentucky Derby, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky;
  2. the Preakness Stakes, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland;
  3. the Belmont Stakes, at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.

In the more-than-125-year history of the U.S. events, only eleven horses have ever won the U.S. Triple Crown, the most famous of which is Secretariat.