The US Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing is the pinnacle of American horse racing, beginning with the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in May, and ending with the Belmont Stakes in June.
The Triple Crown betting attracts more than $300million in bets each year in the US alone. Each race in the Triple Crown has its own betting markets, which include the ‘win’, ‘place’, and ‘show’ standard horse racing wagers, and also these exotic bets:
You can bet on the Triple Crown races at the racecourses on raceday and online, including on betting sites outside the US, with many bookies offering Triple Crown betting markets, such is the international appeal of the Three Jewels.
Three races make up the US Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, each run at a different racecourse, in a different stakes, and over a different distance, with just two constants: they are all only open to three-year-old thoroughbreds and are run on dirt tracks.
Held at Churchill Downs Racecourse in Louisville, Kentucky on the first Saturday in May, the Kentucky Derby is run over a distance of 1 1/4 miles on Churchill Downs’s dirt oval and is known as The Run for the Roses because the winner is draped in a blanket of roses. The field is limited to 20 runners, all of which earn their berth by accumulating points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby circuit in the US, UK, Europe, and Japan.
Held at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland on the third Saturday in May, the Preakness Stakes is run over a distance of 1m 1 1/12 furlongs on Pimlico’s dirt oval and is known as The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans because the winner is draped in a blanket of black-eyed susan flowers. The field is limited to 14 runners, the only guaranteed starting places going to the entries that earned purse money in the Kentucky Derby. All other places are given based on total prize money.
Held at Belmont Park Racecourse in Elmont, New York on the first or second Saturday in June, the Belmont Stakes is the longest of the Triple Crown races at 1 1/2 miles and is thus known as The Test of the Champion. It is run on Belmont’s uniquely large 1 1/2 mile round dirt course, nicknamed ‘Big Sandy’, the winner presented with a blanket of carnations. The field is limited to 16 runners, the only guaranteed starting places going to the entries that earned purse money in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness Stakes. All other places are given based on total prize money.
The Triple Crown is three separate races, that if won together achieve a horse and its connections the highest honour in US horse racing. Most Triple Crown betting focusses on each race individually. These betting tips can help you with your horse racing betting strategy:
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In America, you can watch the Triple Crown races on NBC Sports. If you are in the United Kingdom or Ireland, you can watch it on Sky Sport Racing, available on Sky channel number 415 or via any of the bookmakers offering their streaming services.
The Triple Crown has been won by 13 horses, beginning with Sir Barton in 1919, who was the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. Betting on the Triple Crown has always been around in some form, but since it became regulated, these are the two Triple Crown winners’s odds:
|Year||Horse||Kentucky Derby Odds||Preakness Stakes Odds||Belmont Stakes Odds|
|2018||Justify||29/10f / $7.80||2/5f / $2.80||4/5f / $3.60|
|2015||American Pharoah||29/10f / $7.80||9/10f / $2.80||3/4f / $3.50|
|2018||Justify||Mike Smith||Bob Baffert||China Horse Club / WinStar Farms|
|2015||American Pharoah||Victor Espinoza||Bob Baffert||Ahmed Zayat|
|1978||Affirmed||Steve Cauthen||Laz Barrera||Harbor View Farm|
|1977||Seattle Slew||Jean Cruguet||William H. Turner Jr||Mickey & Karen Taylor, Tayhill Stable, Jim Hill et al|
|1973||Secretariat||Ron Turcotte||Lucien Laurin||Meadow Stable|
|1948||Citation||Eddie Arcaro||Horace A. Jones||Calumet Farms|
|1943||Count Fleet||Johnny Longden||Don Maeron||Fannie Hertz|
|1941||Whirlaway||Eddie Arcaro||Ben A. Jones||Calumet Farm|
|1937||War Admiral||Charles Kurtsinger||George Conway||Samuel D Riddle|
|1935||Omaha||Willie Saunders||Jim Fitzsimmons||Belair Stud|
|1930||Gallant Fox||Earl Sande||Jim Fitzsimmons||Belair Stud|
|1919||Sir Barton||Johnny Loftus||H. Guy Bedwell||J. K. L. Ross|
The Triple Crown was a term conjured up by Daily Racing Form journalist Charles Hatton in the 1930s. In England, the term was being used to describe a similar series, beginning with the 2,000 Guineas, running on to the Epsom Derby and concluding with the St. Leger, each race longer than the next, and only open to three-year-old thoroughbreds
Hatton saw the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes as US horse racing’s equivalents, and as he continued to refer to the trio collectively as the Triple Crown, owners and trainers began to specifically target these contests.
By the 1940s, newspapers routinely used the term and The Triple Crown title was officially inaugurated in December 1950 at the annual awards dinner of the Thorougbred Racing Associations in New York. They retroactively awarded the title to the first horse to achieve the Triple Crown of victories, 1919 winner Sir Barton, and at following dinners did the same for others to have won the three races pre-1950.
"Diarmuid is a published horse racing journalist and creator of the #racehour twitter community which produces a weekly podcast and a home for all things horse racing throughout the flat and jumps season across the UK and Ireland."
Reviewer since October 2019