Major Triple Crown Horse Racing Events
A Triple Crown in horse racing is a term used to describe three particularly significant horse races in one country. The three races, which are all for three-year-old Thoroughbreds, collectively make up an unofficial series, and if one horse wins all of them, they are said to have won the Triple Crown. Although commonly known simply as the Triple Crown, the full name is actually the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.
Winning a Triple Crown in horse racing is considered to be a tremendous achievement, and it's incredibly rare in most countries. The term was first coined in England in 1853 when the horse, West Australia, won the 2,000 Guineas Stakes, the Epsom Derby, and the St. Leger Stakes. Since then, many horse racing nations have implemented a three series race of their own. Below, we provide details of the events offered by various nations:
United Kingdom Triple Crown
The UK Triple Crown is also known as the English or British Triple Crown. It was the first Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing and it was ultimately the inspiration behind various others throughout the world. The three races that make up the UK event are:
The 2,000 Guineas is run at Newmarket Racecourse and takes place in late April or early May. Of the three races that make up the Triple Crown, it was the last to be founded in 1809. The Epsom Derby is run a few weeks later in June at the Epsom Downs Racecourse. The Derby is largely considered the most important race of the three and has been run since 1780. The final of the three races, the St. Leger Stakes, takes place at Doncaster Racecourse in September. This is the oldest in the event, with the first St. Leger run in 1776.
There have been only fifteen winners of the English Triple Crown, and only once since the Second World War.& Nijinsky was ridden by Lester Piggott in 1970; he was a famous jockey who won the Derby an incredible nine times. Since Nijinsky, no other horse has come close to the triple crown apart from a recent attempt by Camelot in 2012. Having won the first two races, Camelot was the firm favorite for the St. Leger Stakes, but he was beaten into second place by a horse named Encke.
There's another United Kingdom Triple Crown exclusively for fillies. The Fillies Triple Crown consists of the 1,000 Guineas Stakes, the Epsom Oaks, and the St. Leger Stakes. There have been nine winners of this event, the most recent being Oh So Sharp in 1985.
United States Triple Crown
The US Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing was effectively introduced in 1919, although the three races in the series had all been in existence for some time by then. The three races that form this race event are as follows:
The Kentucky Derby is one of the most famous horse races in the world, taking place each year at Churchill Downs Racecourse (in Louisville, Kentucky) on the first Saturday in May. The first Kentucky Derby was run in 1875. The Preakness Stakes takes place two weeks after the Kentucky Derby on the third Saturday in May. It was first run in 1873 and is held at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland. The third race, the Belmont Stakes, is run three weeks later on either the first or second Saturday in June. It's held at Belmont Park Racecourse in New York and is the oldest race in the series having been run since 1867.
Since the first horse won the US Triple Crown in 1919 (Sir Barton), only eleven more have gone on to do so. The last horse was American Pharaoh in 2015. Twelve horses since 1978 have won the first two races, but none have gone on to take the Belmont and the Triple Crown. The most recent of these was California Chrome in 2014, which finished fourth in the Belmont Stakes. Only one trainer has won the event with more than one horse, Jim Fitzsimmons, who won with Gallant Fox in 1930 and Omaha in 1935.
There's also a Triple Crown for fillies in the United States, now known as the Triple Tiara. It once consisted of the Kentucky Oaks, the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, and the Acorn Stakes, but has recently been changed. It still includes the Acorn Stakes, but the other two races are now the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama Stakes.
Australian Triple Crown
The Australian Triple Crown has been around since 1935. All three races take place in Sydney, two at the Royal Randwick Racecourse and one at the Rosehill Gardens Racecourse. Only four horses have ever won the Australian Crown: Moorland (1943), Martello Towers (1959), Imagele (1973) and Octaganol (1996). The three races in the series are:
- The Randwick Guineas (replacing the Canterbury Guineas in the series in 2005)
- The Rosehill Guineas
- The AJC Australian Derby
Canadian Triple Crown
There are two rather unusual features of the Canadian Triple Crown: it's open to geldings and each of the three races takes place on a different surface. It has been in existence since 1959, and there have been seven winners. The following three races make up the Canadian Triple Crown:
- The Queen's Plate
- The Prince of Wales Stakes
- The Breeder's Stakes
Hong Kong Triple Crown
The Hong Kong Triple Crown has only been around since 1992, and only one horse has won the series: River Verdon in 1994. The Hong Kong Jockey Club offers a sizable bonus to the owner of any horse that wins this Triple Crown, and also offers a consolation bonus to the owner of any horse that wins the first two races but fails to win the third. The three races in the series are:
- The Steward's Cup
- The Hong Kong Gold Cup
- The Hong Kong Champions & Chater Cup
Japan Triple Crown
The Triple Crown in Japan first came into existence in 1941 when it was won by Shinzan. There have been six further winners since, the most recent being Deep Impact in 2005 and Orfevre in 2011. The following three races make up the Japanese Triple Crown:
- The Satsuki Sho (also known as the Test of Speed)
- The Tokyo Yushun (the Test of Luck)
- The Kikuka Sho (the Test of Strength)
Irish Triple Crown
The Irish Triple Crown is closely modeled after the English Triple Crown and has been around since 1921. There have been only two Irish Triple Crown champions: Museum and Windsor Slipper. The three races in the series, listed below, are all run at the Curragh Racecourse.
- The Irish 2,000 Guineas
- The Irish Derby
- The Irish St. Leger
Other Crowns Events
There a number of other nations and regions that also have a Triple Crown series. These include:
- Turkish Crown
- German Crown
- Italian Crown
- Macau Crown
- Argentinian Crown
- Puerto Rico Crown
- Venezuela Crown
- Panama Crown
- Chile Crown
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: July 2015
Related Horse Racing Articles