Origins of the Triple Crown
The three events that make up horse racing’s Triple Crown have all been around since 1875. The Kentucky Derby (Louisville, KY), Preakness Stakes (Baltimore, MD) and Belmont Stakes (Belmont, NY) are the three races that form the Triple Crown. While the races date back to just a decade after the completion of the Civil War, the events weren’t commonly referred to as the “Triple Crown” until the early 1920’s.
While 130 horses have been in a position to win the Triple Crown by winning the first race of the trifecta, only 11 have been able to make history.
Triple Crown Winners
The history of Triple Crown winners has been unusual since Sir Barton became the first horse to win all three races back in 1919. After no horses were able to capture the Triple Crown in the 1920’s, a period of frequent Triple Crown winners started in 1930. From 1930-48, seven horses were able to accomplish the feat over a 19-year span. Thereafter, another Triple Crown drought ensued throughout the fifties and sixties.
In 1973, Secretariat ended the Triple Crown dry spell by becoming the most dominant horse in the history of the event. Five years later, Affirmed became the 11th horse to capture the Triple Crown. Over three decades later, horse racing is still waiting for its elusive 12th Triple Crown winner.
A Triple Crown curse?
Since Affirmed’s Triple Crown victory in 1978, many elite horses have generated buzz and excitement among race fans over the last 21 years. Several have been on the doorstep of a Triple Crown but none have been able to finish the deal. Since 1979, eleven horses have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in the same year. Incredibly, none of these horses were able to win the Belmont Stakes. So, more often than not, the winner of the Kentucky Derby has been able to win the Preakness Stakes since 1979.
On two different occasions, the “Triple Crown Curse” has occurred for three consecutive years during this period. From 1997-99 and 2002-04, the Belmont Stakes featured the possibility of a horse finishing off a Triple Crown. Big Brown was the most recent horse to win the first two Triple Crown races in 2008. Seven other horses have won two Triple Crown races in a year in a different combination (Kentucky Derby-Belmont or Preakness- Belmont) during this period as well. Since 1979, there have been only three occasions in which no specific horse has won two of the three Triple Crown races in a year.
2010 Triple Crown Odds
Based on history, a Triple Crown only occurs a little over 8% of the time. This year’s odds reflect the difficulty of turning in a hat trick. To wager that there will not be a Triple Crown winner in 2010, the bettor must lay a steep price of -1600. For a yes bet, the price is at +800. Of course, any horse with Triple Crown aspirations must win the first step of the leg to have a chance. While the official field of horses for the Kentucky Derby has yet to be set, Eskendereya is the early favorite at 5/1.
Check out the latest Kentucky Derby Odds.