These horses went down in history for accomplishing the “dream feat” of wining the three most prestigious horse races in the United States: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Winning all three of these races in the same year is what makes a Triple Crown Winner.
Different nations where thoroughbred racing is popular each have their own Triple Crown series. In recent years, winning a Triple Crown has become a very rare achievement, with most horses specializing on a limited range of distances.
THE FIRST TEN TRIPLE CROWN WINNERS
1. SIR BARTON (1919). Sir Barton, (1916–1937), was a chestnut thoroughbred colt who in 1919 became the first winner of the American Triple Crown. Sir Barton was bred in Kentucky by John E. Madden and Vivian A. Gooch at Hamburg Place Farm near Lexington.
2. GALLANT FOX (1930). Gallant Fox (March 23, 1927 – November 13, 1954) was a United States Thoroughbred horseracing champion. Owned by the Belair Stud of Collington, Maryland, Gallant Fox was ridden by Earl Sande and trained by Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons.
3. OMAHA (1935). Omaha (March 24, 1932–April 24, 1959) was a United States thoroughbred horse racing champion. Omaha was an unlikely champion. Like his father, as a two-year-old he was less than spectacular, winning just once in nine races. In four of the nine races, Omaha finished out of the money. During the winter, however, the horse filled out and began to look like a champion and he won the three Triple Crown races easily.
4. WAR ADMIRAL (1937). War Admiral (1934–1959) was an American thoroughbred racehorse legend, the offspring of the great thoroughbred Man o’ War and the mare Brushup. He inherited his father’s fiery temperament and talent, but did not resemble him physically. He was smaller than Man o’ War at 15 hands, two inches tall (compared to 16 hands for an average racehorse), with a dark brown coat inherited from his dam. The movie “Seabiscuit” inaccurately portrays him at 18 hands.
5. WHIRLAWAY (1941). Whirlaway (April 2, 1938 – April 6, 1953) was an American champion thoroughbred racehorse. The chestnut horse was sired by English Derby winner Blenheim II, out of the broodmare Dustwhirl. Whirlaway was bred at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.
6. COUNT FLEET (1943). Count Fleet (March 24, 1940 – December 3, 1973) was born and died at Stoner Creek Stud farm in Paris, Kentucky, United States. He was a Thoroughbred racehorse and Triple Crown champion in 1943.
7. ASSAULT (1946). Assault (March 26, 1943 – September 2, 1971) was an American Hall of Fame thoroughbred racehorse who won the U.S. Triple Crown in 1946.
8. CITATION (1948). Citation (April 11, 1945–August 8, 1970) was the eighth American Triple Crown winner, and one of three major North American Thoroughbreds (along with Cigar and Zenyatta) to win at least 16 consecutive races in major stakes race competition. He was the first horse in history to win one million dollars.
9. SECRETARIAT (1973). Secretariat (March 30, 1970 – October 4, 1989) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse, that in 1973 became the first U.S. Triple Crown champion in twenty-five years, setting new race records in two of the three events in the Series—the Kentucky Derby (1:59 2/5), and the Belmont Stakes (2:24)—records that still stand today.
10. SEATTLE SLEW (1977). Seattle Slew (February 15, 1974 – May 7, 2002) was an American Thoroughbred race horse who won the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing in 1977, the tenth of eleven horses to accomplish the feat. He remains the only horse to win the Triple Crown while undefeated. In the Blood-Horse magazine List of the Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century, Seattle Slew is ranked ninth.