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Friday, February 20, 2009

Triple Crown Winners!!!

1919: Sir Barton:

Purchased for $10,000 by owner JKL Ross, Sir Barton was one of racing's best rags-to-roses stories.
The chestnut colt went 0-for-6 as a 2-year-old, and in the estimation of most handicappers was entered in the Kentucky Derby to set the pace for his highly regarded stablemate, Billy Kelly. Instead, with John Loftus in the saddle, the H.G. Bedwell-trained colt became the first winner of the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes and the horse for whom the term Triple Crown was coined, albeit years later.

Not content with that trifecta, he also won the Withers Stakes at Belmont Park between the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.

Apart from establishing the 3-year-old series on the racing landscape, Sir Barton earned a footnote by being the final victim of the great Man o' War, who beat him by seven lengths in the Ontario, Canada, match race that concluded his incredible career. Sir Barton finished his career with a record of 13 wins from 31 starts and $116,857 in earnings.

1930: Gallant Fox:

This bay colt didn't appear bound for greatness as a 2-year-old, when he won twice from seven starts.
But the son of Sir Galahad III exploded as a 3-year-old, winning nine times from 10 starts for rider Earl Sande, trainer "Sunny" Jim Fitzsimmons and owner Belair Stud.

His only loss of the year was one for the ages: He and strong rival Whichone were beaten in the Travers Stakes, run on a sloppy Saratoga racetrack, by 100-1 shot Jim Dandy.

Gallant Fox retired to stud duty after his 3-year-old season with a lifetime record of 11 wins from 17 starts and $328,165 in earnings. He earned further distinction in the breeding shed by siring Omaha and becoming the only Triple Crown winner to sire another.

1935: Omaha:

This rangy chestnut colt made the Triple Crown a family affair for trainer "Sunny" Jim Fitzsimmons and owner Belair Stud, who teamed up to win the series with his sire, Gallant Fox, in 1930. He was riden by jockey Willie Sanders throughout his Triple Crown campaign.
After his 3-year-old heroics, Omaha was well-traveled 4-year-old, racing four times in England, before retiring with a lifetime record of 9 wins from 22 starts and $154,755 in earnings.

An indifferent stallion, Omaha eventually was sent to a farm outside his namesake city, Omaha, Neb., where upon his death he was interred at the local racetrack, Ak-Sar-Ben.

1937: War Admiral:

This smallish brown colt was a son of the great Man o' War, though he bore little physical resemblance to "Big Red."
He did his daddy, trainer George Conway and owner Glen Riddle Farms proud in his 3-year-old season, reeling off eight wins from eight races, including his Triple Crown victories under jockey Charles Kurtsinger.

He continued to be a dominating force in the handicap ranks through his 5-year-old season, winning eight more stakes races but losing to Seabiscuit in a much-heralded East vs. West match race at Pimlico.

War Admiral retired to a successful second career as a sire with a record of 21 wins from 26 starts and $273,240 in earnings.

1941: Whirlaway:

Known as "Mr. Longtail" for his flowing tress — an accessory with which his rivals became intimately familiar — Whirlaway was the horse who put owner Warren Wright Sr.'s storied Calumet Farm on the map.
Whirlaway was a difficult horse to ride because of his habit of going wide on the turns, so trainer Ben Jones fitted the chestnut colt with blinkers and engaged the services of riding great Eddie Arcaro. The result: an eight-length Kentucky Derby victory in track record time of 2:01 2/5 — a mark that stood for 20 years — and the fifth Triple Crown.

He proved as resilient as he was talented, racing 22 times as a 4-year-old and developing a great rivalry with Alsab comparable to the Affirmed-Alydar match-ups.

Whirlaway was retired after two starts as a 5-year-old with 32 victories from 60 starts and $561,161 in earnings, making him the first thoroughbred to win more than half a million dollars.

1943: Count Fleet:

A blazing-fast brown colt who won 10 times in 15 starts as a 2-year-old, Count Fleet was assigned the highest weight ever — 132 pounds — in the Experimental Free Handicap, a method in which Jockey Club racing secretaries assess the accomplishments of sophomores.
Owned by Mr. And Mrs. John D. Hertz, the Count finished his illustrious career by going 6 for 6 as a 3-year-old for trainer G.D. Cameron and jockey Johnny Longden, winning the Wood Memorial and Withers Stakes in addition to the Triple Crown races.

By the time he reached the Belmont Stakes, the competition was so demoralized that he had only to beat two allowance horses, whom he crushed by 25 lengths.

For his career, the son of Reigh Count finished first in 16 of 21 starts, earning $250,300.

1946: Assault:

One of just two Texas-breds ever to win the Kentucky Derby, Assault also defied the odds by developing into a top-flight racehorse despite a serious injury as a weanling that left him with a crooked right foreleg and an odd, ambling way of walking. As a result, he was nicknamed the "Clubfoot Comet," though that didn't accurately describe his condition.
After winning just twice as a 2-year-old for Texas oilman Robert Kleberg Jr.'s King Ranch, the Max Hirsch-trained chestnut colt rebounded as a 3-year-old to win eight times in 15 starts. The closest call of the 1946 Triple Crown came in the Preakness, when an obviously tired Assault prevailed by a neck over Lord Boswell.

The son of Bold Venture won his last race at the ripe old age of 7 before being retired with a record of 18 wins in 42 starts and $675,470 in earnings.

1948: Citation:

The first racehorse to be mentioned in the same breath as Man o' War as the greatest racehorse of the century, Citation gave Calumet farm and trainer Ben Jones their second Triple Crown winner in seven years.
Described as a "well-oiled machine" who simply crushed his competition, the bay colt won 27 of 29 starts in his 2- and 3-year-old seasons. One of those losses occurred when Eddie Arcaro replaced Citation's regular rider Al Snider, who disappeared during an Everglades fishing trip.

As a 3-year-old, the bay colt won 15 in a row, including the Triple Crown races, with almost ridiculous ease. He ran the winning streak to a modern record 16 straight in 1950, after missing all of 1949 with ankle and tendon injuries.

The son of Bull Lea was retired in 1951 with a lifetime record of 32 wins in 45 starts and $1,085,760 in earnings, making him racing's first millionaire.

1973: Secretariat:

The second "Big Red" of the century to wear the mark of greatness (Man o' War also carried that nickname), the powerfully built chestnut colt was only the second 2-year-old to be voted Horse of the Year after winning seven of nine starts in 1972.
The Claiborne Farm color-bearer finished third in the Wood Memorial in the third race of his 3-year-old campaign, leading to speculation that he might have a chink in his armor after all. But the colt rebounded for trainer Lucien Laurin and jockey Ron Turcotte in the Kentucky Derby with a scintillating 2 1/2-length victory over Sham in 1:59 2/5, which was the only sub 2-minute Derby in history until Monarchos stopped the clock in 1:59.97 in 2001.
After beating Sham by the same margin in the Preakness, Secretariat turned in what many consider the most awesome performance ever by a thoroughbred, beating the nearest of four rivals in the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths. Announcer Chic Anderson's call of the stretch run remains one of racing's best: "Secretariat is blazing along! The first three-quarters of a mile in 1:09 4/5. Secretariat is widening now. He is moving like a tremendous machine!"

Having been syndicated for a record $6.08 million, the horse considered by many to be the greatest of the century was retired at the end of his 3-year-old season, with a lifetime record of 16 wins in 21 starts and earnings of $1,316,808.

1977: Seattle Slew:

One of racing's greatest bargains, having been purchased from a yearling sale for just $17,500 by owners Mickey and Karen Taylor, Seattle Slew provided a quick return on the investment by winning all three of his starts as a 2-year-old.
He entered the Kentucky Derby as the 1-2 favorite after running his record to 6 for 6, but gave his owners and trainer Billy Turner Jr. a horrible scare by nearly falling at the break and getting away about a half-dozen lengths behind the leaders. Jockey Jean Cruguet quickly rushed the dark bay colt up to engage the leaders after only a quarter mile and the colt slowly drew away in the stretch to post a 1 ?-length victory over Run Dusty Run.

Seattle Slew's wins in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes were far less eventful and much easier.

He remained a force in the handicap ranks through his 4-year-old season, when he survived a near-fatal illness and returned to beat fellow Triple Crown winner Affirmed in the Marlboro Cup before being retired with a record of 14 wins in 17 starts, and earnings of $1,208,726.

1978: Affirmed:

With his battles with Alydar — considered the greatest rivalry in racing history — the gallant chestnut colt established himself as the most tenacious Triple Crown winner, if not the greatest in terms of pure talent.
Bred and raced by Louis Wolfson's Harbor View Farm, Affirmed battled his arch rival six times when both were 2-year-olds, emerging victorious four times. They continued to race as 3-year-olds, with Affirmed and jockey Steve Cauthen prevailing over Alydar and Jorge Velasquez by 1?-lengths in the Kentucky Derby, a neck in the Preakness and a desperate head in the Belmont after a thrilling duel through the final seven furlongs. By year's end, the two had met 10 times, with Affirmed winning seven races.

Affirmed lost his first two starts as a 4-year-old, leading trainer Laz Barrera to replace Cauthen with Laffit Pincay Jr., who guided the colt to victories in his final six races.

The son of Exclusive Native was retired with a record of 22 wins from 26 starts and earnings of $2,393,818, making him the first horse to compile a bankroll of more than $2 million.

A look at the horses that just missed winning the Triple Crown
Alive entering Belmont Finish Winner:

Burgoo King (1932) Did not race Faireno
Bold Venture (1936) Did not race Granville
Pensive (1944) Second Bounding Home
Tim Tam (1958) Second Cavan
Carry Back (1961) Seventh Sherluck
Northern Dancer (1964) Third Quadrangle
Kauai King (1966) Fourth Amberoid
Forward Pass* (1968) Second Stage Door Johnny
Majestic Prince (1969) Second Arts and Letters
Canonero II (1971) Fourth Pass Catcher
Spectacular Bid (1979) Third Coastal
Pleasant Colony (1981) Third Summing
Alysheba (1987) Fourth Bet Twice
Sunday Silence (1989) Second Easy Goer
Silver Charm (1997) Second Touch Gold
Real Quiet (1998) Second Victory Gallop
Charismatic (1999) Third Lemon Drop Kid
War Emblem (2002) Eighth Sarava
Funny Cide (2003) Third Empire Maker

Smarty Jones (2004) Second Birdstone
Big Brown (2008) Ninth (last) Da' Tara

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