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Triple Crown

Understanding The Triple Crown​

The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Horse Racing is a term that refers to both the three biggest horse racing events in the United States – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes – and the title given to any three-year-old thoroughbred that wins all three races.

Triple Crown betting odds have a long history in the United States and remain incredibly popular today and is one of the most prestigious titles in the world of horse racing, and winning it is a rare and impressive feat. Only 13 horses have won the Triple Crown in the history of the sport, the most recent being Justify in 2018.

Any horse that wins all three races is awarded the Triple Crown Trophy, which was first commissioned in 1950.

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown, held annually on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It is a 1 1/4-mile race for three-year-old horses and is considered the most famous horse race in America.

Preakness Stakes

The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the Triple Crown, held two weeks after the Kentucky Derby at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a 1 3/16-mile race and is known for its festive atmosphere and the tradition of the "Black-Eyed Susan" cocktail.

Belmont Stakes

The Belmont Stakes is the final leg of the Triple Crown, held three weeks after the Preakness at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It is the longest of the three races at 1 1/2 miles and is known as the "Test of the Champion."

Triple Crown Betting Odds: Winners, Stats, and Records

Sir Barton became the first horse to win the Triple Crown betting odds in 1919, and since then, only 12 other horses have managed to claim this prestigious title. This averages out to a Triple Crown winner every eight years, making it one of the most challenging trophies to win in any sport. Nonetheless, Triple Crown odds are available for many horses almost every year, offering betting enthusiasts plenty of opportunities to get in on the action.

Here is a list of the Triple Crown winners: 

Triple Crown Winners:

Year Horse Jockey Trainer owner
1919 Sir Barton Johnny Loftus H. Guy Bedwell J. K. L. Ross
1930 Gallant Fox Earl Sane Jim Fitzsimmons Belair Stud
1935 Omaha Smokey Sanders Jim Fitzsimmons Belair Stud
1937 War Admiral Charles Kurtsinger George Conway Samuel D. Riddle
1941 Whirlaway Eddie Arcaro Ben A. Jones Calumet Farm
1943 Count Fleet Johnny Longden Don Cameron Fannie Hertz
1946 Assault Warren Mehrtens Max Hirsch King Ranch
1948 Citation Eddie Arcaro Jimmy Jones Camulet Farm
1973 Secretariat Ron Turcotte Lucien Laurin  Meadow Stable
1977 Seattle Slew Jean Cruguet William H. Turner Jr. Mickey & Karen L. Taylor
1978 AFFirmed Steve Cauthen Laz Barrera Harbor View Farm 
2015 American Pharoah Victor Espinoza Bob Baffert Ahmed Zayat
2018 Justify Mike Smith Bob Baffert WinStar Farm
  • The legendary Secretariat holds the record for all three races, with his time of 2:24 for the 1½-mile in the 1973 Belmont Stakes remaining unbroken to this day.
  • Gallant Fox and Omaha are the only father and son duo to have each won the Triple Crown betting odds.
  • Jim Fitzsimmons and Bob Baffert are the only owners to have owned two Triple Crown winners.
  • Steve Cauthen became the youngest jockey at 18 years old to win the Triple Crown and Mike Smith became the oldest at 52 years old.
  • The longest gap between Triple Crown winners occurred when Affirmed won in 1978, followed by American Pharoah in 2015, 37 years later.

Triple Crown Betting Odds: Upsets and Missed Bids

The history of Triple Crown races has seen many unexpected and significant upsets. Despite being the favorites and having favorable Triple Crown betting odds, many Triple Crown contenders have stumbled and failed to live up to expectations, while underdogs have emerged to the surprise of everyone.

These upsets are one of the reasons why Triple Crown betting odds remain popular, as fans hope to witness a big underdog come through and claim victory. The element of unpredictability adds to the excitement of Triple Crown races, making them all the more thrilling to watch and bet on.

Here are some of the biggest upsets to happen in the Triple Crown betting odds along with horses who fell short:

  • A total of 52 horses were one race shy of becoming Triple Crown betting odds winners
  • A total of 23 horses failed to win the Belmont after winning the Derby and the Preakness; thus it has a reputation as being the hardest to win
  • Sarava scored the biggest upset in Triple Crown history by winning the 2002 Belmont as a 70-1 underdog
  • Alydar is the only horse to finish second in all three Triple Crown betting odds races, finishing behind Affirmed in 1978
  • Silver Charm narrowly missed the 1997 Triple Crown by finishing half of a length short during the Belmont
  • Victor Espinoza and California Chrome lost in the Belmont in 2014 as a heavy favorite; had he won, he would have become the first jockey to win two Triple Crowns

Here are some helpful strategies for newcomers betting on horse racing odds:

  • Consider putting your money on the favorite, as they win about 33% of the time and have the best odds.
  • Check local newspapers for the Daily Racing Form and handicapper selections to gain insights from recognized experts.
  • Buy a tip sheet from professional handicappers for additional wagering selections.
  • Review the program for a list of trainer and jockey standings, which can indicate the best horses and highest win percentages.
  • Watch the horses to observe their behavior and form before making your bet.

Glossary of Racing Terms

Entry: A horse entered in a race, with two or more horses sometimes being “coupled” and running as a single wagering unit. If you bet on one horse of an entry, you are betting on both.

Furlong: A unit of distance in horse racing, measuring 220 yards or one-eighth of a mile.

Morning Line: A prediction of how the morning linemaker expects betting to occur in a particular race. These Triple Crown betting odds are printed in the program and posted on the Infield Odds Board before wagering begins.

Post Position: The horse’s position in the starting gate, with the gate numbered from the inner rail outward.

Purse: The amount of prize money won by the owners of the first five or six finishers in a race.

What is the Triple Crown in horse racing?

The Triple Crown is a prestigious title in thoroughbred horse racing that is awarded to any three-year-old horse that manages to win all three of the biggest horse racing events in the United States – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.

How difficult is it to win the Triple Crown?

Winning the Triple Crown is one of the most challenging feats in sports, with only 13 horses having achieved the title since it was first established in 1919. The combination of physical stamina, mental fortitude, and a bit of luck required to win all three races makes it an incredibly challenging task.

How are Triple Crown betting odds calculated?

Triple Crown betting odds are calculated by taking into account a range of factors, including the horse’s recent performance, jockey and trainer stats, and the conditions of the track. Bookmakers and online sportsbooks adjust the odds based on the amount of money being wagered on each horse to ensure a balanced book.

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