Triple Crown Winners Cheat Sheet

Legends
American Pharoah became racing's 12th Triple Crown winner in 2015. (Eclipse Sportswire)

There is at least one racing term that immediately inspires respect, and even awe, from people with deep involvement in the racing industry and from those with little knowledge of the sport – the Triple Crown.

The difficulty of capturing the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, at three distances, on three tracks, all in the span of five weeks can’t be overstated. The task is such a tall order that only 12 horses have accomplished it in 140 years of the series – and until American Pharoah conquered all three races in 2015, no horse had done it since Affirmed in 1978. So just who are these talented and tenacious Thoroughbreds? Find all the details on each Triple Crown winner listed below, a hallowed group of Thoroughbred racing greats.

1.  Sir Barton (1919 Triple Crown winner)

Blood-Horse Library

Jockey: Johnny Loftus

Trainer: H. Guy Bedwell

Owner: J.K.L. Ross

Career record: 31-13-6-5

Career earnings: $116,857

Earnings in today’s dollars: $1,594,922

Pedigree: Star Shoot – Lady Sterling, by Hanover

Color: Chestnut

Fun facts: Sir Barton lost all of his six starts as a 2-year-old, and the Kentucky Derby was his 3-year-old debut, so he was a maiden until he won the Derby. The colt also won the Withers between the Preakness and Belmont, but would be overshadowed later that year with the emergence of 2-year-old Man o’ War, a horse many believe to be among the best of all time. Sir Barton was sold to the U.S Cavalry after his stud career and lived out his years on a Wyoming ranch.


2. Gallant Fox (1930)

Keeneland Library

Jockey: Earl Sande

Trainer: James E. “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons

Owner: Belair Stud

Career record: 17-11-3-2

Career earnings: $328,165

Earnings in today’s dollars: $4,639,880

Pedigree: Sir Gallahad III – Marguerite, by Celt

Color: Bay

Fun facts: The Preakness was run before the Derby in 1930, and Gallant Fox won all three races in a 29-day span. He was sired by Sir Gallahad II, one of the first prominent European stallions imported to the U.S. Gallant Fox would become the first, and only, Triple Crown winner to sire a Triple Crown winner with his son Omaha.


3. Omaha (1935)

J.A. Estes (Collection owned by Blood-Horse)

Jockey: Willie Saunders

Trainer: James E. “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons

Owner: Belair Stud

Career record: 22-9-7-2

Career earnings: $154,755

Earnings in today’s dollars: $2,667,197

Pedigree: Gallant Fox – Flambino, by Wrack

Color: Chestnut

Fun facts: Like his sire, Gallant Fox, Omaha was a Triple Crown winner bred and owned by Belair Stud in Kentucky and trained by “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons. Omaha lost the Withers after the Preakness, but rebounded to win the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown. Omaha started his stud career in Kentucky but was moved to a farm in Nebraska in 1950. He was later buried at the now-defunct Ak-Sar-Ben Race Track in Omaha.


4. War Admiral (1937)

Keeneland-Morgan

Jockey: Charley Kurtsinger

Trainer: George H. Conway

Owner: Samuel Riddle

Career record: 26-21-3-1

Career earnings: $273,240

Earnings in today’s dollars: $4,480,358

Pedigree: Man o’ War – Brushup, by Sweep

Color: Dark brown

Fun facts: A son of the great Man o’ War, who skipped the Kentucky Derby but won the Preakness and Belmont, War Admiral captured the Triple Crown after stumbling and getting injured at the start of the Belmont. He famously lost a match race with Seabiscuit in 1938 but went on to sire 40 stakes winners from 320 starters, a remarkable 12.5 percent.


5. Whirlaway (1941)

Blood-Horse Library

Jockey: Eddie Arcaro

Trainer: Ben Jones

Owner: Calumet Farm

Career record: 60-32-15-9

Career earnings: $561,161

Earnings in today’s dollars: $9,013,658

Pedigree: Blenheim II – Dustwhirl, by Sweep

Color: Chestnut

Fun facts: Whirlaway finished in the money in each of his 42 starts as a 3- and 4-year-old, including the Triple Crown sweep, Travers Stakes, Brooklyn Handicap and Jockey Club Gold Cup. He was the first of eight Kentucky Derby winners and two Triple Crown winners for Calumet Farm, with a penchant for closing from the clouds. After his racing career, he was sold for stud duty to France.


6.  Count Fleet (1943)

Jockey: Johnny Longden

Trainer: Don Cameron

Owner: Fannie Hertz

Career record: 21-16-4-1

Career earnings: $250,300

Earnings in today’s dollars: $3,416,219

Pedigree: Reigh Count – Quickly, by Haste

Color: Brown

Fun facts: Count Fleet was almost sold before he made it to the races due to his gangly conformation, but he ended up winning 10 of 15 starts as a 2-year-old for his owner-breeder. He was undefeated as a 3-year-old, going off as the odds-on favorite in each of the Triple Crown races and winning the Belmont by 25 lengths. At stud, he sired two champions and Kentucky Derby winner Count Turf.


7. Assault (1946)

Keeneland Library

Jockey: Warren Mehrtens

Trainer: Max Hirsch

Owner: King Ranch

Career record: 42-18-6-8

Career earnings: $675,470

Earnings in today’s dollars: $8,176,041

Pedigree: Bold Venture – Igual, by Equipoise

Color: Chestnut

Fun facts: Nicknamed the “club-footed comet” due to a malformed right front hoof resulting from an injury as a foal, Assault went off at 8.20-to-1 in the Kentucky Derby but won by eight lengths. He continued to race until he was 7 years old after proving infertile at stud and later retired to King Ranch, the same place he was foaled.


8. Citation (1948)

Blood-Horse Library

Jockey: Eddie Arcaro

Trainer: Horace A. “Jimmy” Jones, though his father, Ben, was trainer of record for the Derby

Owner: Calumet Farm

Career record: 45-32-10-2

Career earnings: $1,085,760

Earnings in today’s dollars: $10,637,700

Pedigree: Bull Lea – Hydroplane, by Hyperion

Color: Bay

Fun facts: Citation won eight of nine starts as a 2-year-old and began his sophomore season with two wins over older horses. He faced just five others in the Kentucky Derby and 15 total in all three Triple Crown races, but completed his 3-year-old season with 19 victories from 20 starts. He became racing’s first millionaire in 1951.


9. Secretariat (1973)

Blood-Horse Library

Jockey: Ron Turcotte

Trainer: Lucien Laurin

Owner: Meadow Stable

Career record: 21-16-3-1

Career earnings: $1,316,808

Earnings in today’s dollars: $7,002,779

Pedigree: Bold Ruler – Somethingroyal, by Princequillo

Color: Chestnut

Fun facts: Secretariat was named Horse of the Year as a 2-year-old after winning eight of nine starts and was syndicated for a record $6.08-million early in his sophomore season. The chestnut colt lost the Wood Memorial but proceeded to set the stakes record in each of the three Triple Crown races, including an American record 2:24 in the Belmont, a race he won by 31 lengths. Belmont Park has since installed a blue and white pole 31 lengths from the finish line, signifying the magnitude of Secretariat’s win.


10. Seattle Slew (1977)

Coglianese Photo/Blood-Horse Library

Jockey: Jean Cruguet

Trainer: William H. Turner, Jr.

Owner: Karen L. Taylor

Career record: 17-14-2-0

Career earnings: $1,208,726

Earnings in today’s dollars: $4,709,623

Pedigree: Bold Reasoning – My Charmer, by Poker

Color: Dark bay or brown

Fun facts: Seattle Slew is the only undefeated Triple Crown winner, suffering his first career defeat in his next race after the series, Hollywood Park’s Swaps Stakes. As a 4-year-old Seattle Slew won five of seven starts, including a win over fellow Triple Crown winner Affirmed in the 1978 Marlboro Cup. At stud, he sired Horse of the Year and prolific sire A.P. Indy and more than 100 other stakes winners.


11. Affirmed (1978)

Coglianese Photo/Blood-Horse Library

Jockey: Steve Cauthen

Trainer: Laz Barrera

Owner: Harbor View Farm

Career record: 29-22-5-1

Career earnings: $2,393,818

Earnings in today’s dollars: $8,669,109

Pedigree: Exclusive Native – Won’t Tell You, by Crafty Admiral

Color: Chestnut

Fun facts: Affirmed’s rivalry with Alydar, the second-place finisher in each of the 1978 Triple Crown races, is one of the most famous rivalries in the sport. Though he lost to Seattle Slew in that year’s Marlboro Cup, Affirmed was named 1978 Horse of the Year, and he would duplicate that title in 1979 with six straight Grade 1 wins. He was the first $2-million earner in Thoroughbred racing.


12. American Pharoah (2015)

Eclipse Sportswire

Jockey: Victor Espinoza

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Owner: Zayat Stables

Career record: 11-9-1-0

Career earnings: $8,650,300

Earnings in today’s dollars: $8,650,300

Pedigree: Pioneerof the Nile - Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman

Color: Bay

Fun facts: In 2015 American Pharoah ended the longest drought in Triple Crown history when he became the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. Jockey Victor Espinoza had twice been in the position to complete the triple (2002 and 2014) and trainer Bob Baffert had tried three times before (1997, 1998, 2002) when American Pharoah completed the sweep. American Pharoah lost his first start before breaking his maiden in a Grade 1 race and winning eight consecutive races. Like six of the last seven Triple Crown winners, the colt had been named 2-year-old champion in 2014. He wrapped up his career with a win in the Breeders' Cup Classic against older horses and was later named Horse of the Year. He has since taken up stud duty at Ashford Stud in Kentucky.

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