Triple Crown Winners: Thirteen Legendary Thoroughbred Champions

In the world of horse racing, things don’t get much bigger than the Triple Crown. This prestigious title is awarded to any horse/jockey that manages to cross the line in the first position for the following three races – The Belmont, Preakness Stakes, and The Kentucky Derby. It’s also worth keeping in mind that each of these three races is a Grade 1 event, which is the toughest of all horse racing according to the established tiers. Therefore, as you’d probably imagine, managing to win all three in a single season doesn’t occur all that often. That’s why we’d like to dedicate this quick read to the most famous Triple Crown winners of our time, as each deserves the utmost recognition for their achievements.

Now is an especially good time to investigate this topic as we now head into the bulk of the North American racing calendar, so do read on and enjoy.

All Triple Crown Winners as of 2021

In total, 13 different horses have managed to win all three races in a single season, but let’s start with the very first one:

Sir Barton, the first ever Triple Crown winner

Sir Barton – 1919

The first of our Triple Crown winners managed to achieve this feat more than 100 years ago, all the way back in 1919. Even then, horse racing was still a sport enjoyed by the masses in North America, and the winning jockey here, Johnny Loftus, received national recognition for this extraordinary achievement. It’s quite something being the first to achieve something this big, so well done to Sir Barton!

Gallant Fox – 1930

It would then take more than 10 years for another Triple Crown winner to emerge, but none other than Gallant Fox would rise to the task. If you like a bit of history, this achievement is what solidified the term ‘Triple Crown winners’ in the first place, as this achievement label has remained in place ever since.

Omaha – 1935

For our next winner, this horse had the exact same trainer as Gallant Fox, mentioned previously. This trainer was Jimmy Fitzsimmons, and he was the very first trainer to be crowned as a Triple Crown winner more than once. While this record has since been equalled, he still ties another record for training a father-son horse pair to achieve this feat – with Gallant Fox and Omaha fitting the bill.

War Admiral – 1937

It would seem fitting that War Admiral was given this name just before the Second World War kicked in. But with that said, the world was not yet at war, and this allowed this horse to strut its stuff and become the fourth of all Triple Crown winners. This horse was trained by George Conway, and boy did he do a good job!

Whirlaway – 1941

At this point, the world was getting rather ugly over in Europe, but things were as beautiful as ever on the horse racing tracks of North America. In 1941, Whirlaway absolutely demolished the rest of the field on the journey to becoming the fifth of all Triple Crown winners, and this would be the beginning of the epic legacy of Eddie Arcaro.

Count Fleet – 1943

Just a couple of years later, we had another breathtaking horse in the form of Count Fleet. This beauty joined the likes of the other legendary horses on this list by becoming a Triple Crown winner with ease – and we must say, this was one of the most powerful horses we’ve ever seen down the finishing straight.

Assault – 1946

With the world now at rest in 1946, everyone was no doubt in a comfortable and relaxed mood – all except for Assault, that is. When this horse entered the racing calendar that year, there was no looking back. All eyes were set on becoming a Triple Crown winner, something which the horse achieved in quite magnificent fashion.

Citation – 1948

This is where one of the most popular jockeys of all time sealed his place in the record books. Eddie Arcaro, who joined the list of Triple Crown winners back in 1941, managed to replicate this achievement once again in 1948. In doing so, he became the one and only jockey in history to have won the Triple Crown – twice!

Secretariat – 1973

If there was a way to describe this horse in a nutshell, we’d probably shoot for the words – record-breaking. After all, Secretariat to this day, holds the records for the fastest times on all three races that make up the Triple Crown, and despite this being almost 50 years ago, the times have not been beaten.

Seattle Slew – 1977

Seattle Slew and their associated jockey were no doubt pretty excited about following in the footsteps of one of the greats like Secretariat. However, while the records regarding times were not to be broken, the records for becoming one of the Triple Crown winners was there for the taking – and this horse took it phenomenally well.

Affirmed – 1978

This is actually the shortest gap between all of our Triple Crown winners, as Affirmed managed to complete the feat the very next season after Seattle Slew had wrapped things up. If you’re wondering if there was a connection – surprisingly not. Affirmed had a completely different trainer, jockey, and racing style.

American Pharaoh – 2015

American Pharaoh is one of just two Triple Crown winners that are still with us today, but then again, the horse did manage this achievement in 2015. Having been trained by Bob Baffert, we did have a feeling that American Pharaoh could have a trick up their sleeve, and they certainly did.

Justify – 2018

Last but not least, Justify is the most recent horse to become a Triple Crown winner, having won the three races in the same season back in 2018. And once again, the genius behind the victory was Bob Baffert. Some might say that Baffert has discovered some kind of secret sauce to achieving such great things on the track, but he has yet to register another Triple Crown winner since.

Justify 2018 Triple Crown winner at the Belmont Stakes race