Created on: January 27, 2013
Knowledgeable fans know that the term Triple Crown can be found in various sports around the globe. In the world of baseball, it symbolizes a feat that, up until last season, had not been accomplished since the 1960s. Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers won the Triple Crown by leading the American League in home runs, runs batted in, and batting average. In the world of thoroughbred horse racing,
the Triple Crown is also something that has become increasingly hard to accomplish.
The Triple Crown of thoroughbred horse racing entails one horse capturing all three of the sport's three major races in the same year. The three wins that must be secured to earn this title are the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. One would think that a good horse would be able to accomplish this Trifecta every couple of years, but that has not been the case. The three races have been run since 1875, and only 11 horses have won the Triple Crown in that time period. The last time the Triple Crown was won was in 1978, by Affirmed.
The road to the Triple Crown begins on the first Saturday in May, when the horses descend on Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby. It will be running this spring (2013) for the 138th time, making it the longest continually held sporting event to take place in the United States. It has become known as the "Run for the Roses" due to the fact that the winner is adorned with a blanket of roses in the winner's circle. To win, the horse must be the fastest in the one-and-a-quarter-mile race. It is also referred to as the fastest two minutes in sports.
Should a horse win the Kentucky Derby, it is off to Pimlico Track in Baltimore, Md., for the Preakness Stakes. This race takes place two weeks after the Kentucky Derby. It has become known by two names, The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans and the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. The latter name speaks for itself, but the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans comes from the blanket of daisies (made up to look like the out-of-season Black=Eyed Susans) put around the neck of the winner. There have been numerous horses that have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, only to falter at the final race.
The last jewel in the Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes. The Belmont is run three weeks after the Preakness Stakes. This race has become known as the "test of the champion." That name is derived from the distance of this final race in the Triple Crown. It is one-and-a-half miles in length, making it by far, the longest race in the series. The length is an unusual one for the horses, so many of the contenders that won the first two legs of the Triple Crown have faltered at Belmont because they are not used to going the extra distance.
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