In the United States, the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, commonly known as the “Triple Crown”, is a series of three Thoroughbred horse races for three-year-old horses run in May and early June of each year consisting of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.
Only 11 horses have ever won the Triple Crown, none since 1978. The 11 Triple Crown winners are Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), and Affirmed (1978).
There has not been a Triple Crown winner since June 7, 1978, and this is the longest drought in Triple Crown history. Since 1978, eleven horses have won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Of those, Real Quiet has come the closest to winning the Triple Crown, losing the Belmont Stakes by a nose in 1998. Charismatic led the Belmont Stakes in the final furlong in 1999, but fractured his left front leg in the final stretch and fell back to third. The five most recent horses to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes but either lost or withdrew from the Belmont Stakes were War Emblem in 2002, Funny Cide in 2003, Smarty Jones in 2004, Big Brown in 2008, and I’ll Have Another in 2012.
Horse racing in the United States and on the North American continent dates back to 1665. There were 314 tracks operating in the United States by 1890; and in 1894, the American Jockey Club was formed. The anti-gambling sentiment prevalent in the early 20th century led almost all states to ban bookmaking. Bookmaking is the process of taking bets, calculating odds, and paying out winnings. This nearly eliminated horse racing altogether. When parimutuel betting was introduced in 1908, the racing industry turned around. Horse racing flourished until World War II. The sport did not regain popularity in the United States until horses began to win the Triple Crown.
Today horse racing is in deep trouble again as many people have lost interest in horse racing. Many of the tracks have turned to alternative forms of attracting people such as adding casinos or gambling establishments at the tracks.
Affirmed in 1978 still remains the last Triple Crown winner and ever since that time the people await a champion horse to emerge from the ashes. Many movies, books, and television shows have featured stories from the past of horse racing. Part of our American history is based on horse racing so America needs a Triple Crown Winner this year.
People need an underdog horse to step up and give America hope and it would boost horse racing into the lime light again. The question remains can any horse step up to the task?