It’s the pounding of the hooves down the track and the flashes of bright colors as jockeys cling to the backs of thoroughbred racehorses. The tension is mounting and there is a surge of excitement from the surrounding crowd. It’s the Triple Crown, at the heart of lore and legends for generations.
The Triple Crown is a racing contest for thoroughbreds that are in the 3 year class and complete three milestone races in the sport of horse racing. If one thoroughbred has victory at all three events, it is a rare event in deed. Very few prime race horses have been able to join this exclusive club of winners. In the United States, the Triple Crown refers to the Kentucky Derby, likened to the World Series of thoroughbred racing as the most recognizable, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes.
Taking victory in any of these races requires a horse with excellent conditioning, a jockey with skill and stragegy, and an owner who knows how to maximize the potential of his or her horse. The last time a US horse held the title of Triple Crown was in 1978 and the victor was Affirmed. Seatle Slew took all three races in 1977. Perhaps most memorable of all is the horse that is synonymous with racing, the great Secretariat. Secretariat, the focus of a major motion picture, came from humble beginnings and stormed the Triple Crown back in 1973. It was nearly thirty years previous that Citation won the Triple Crown in 1948. Looking back to its beginnings, Sir Barton amazed fans with his win in 1919 shortly after World War I.
The prospect of a Triple Crown victory inspires awe, bringing race fans back to the track. Owners and jockeys will strive to be next to win that title.