The most important 5 weeks on the U.S. thoroughbred racing calendar starts on Saturday, May 4. The Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes, make up horse racing’s Triple Crown. Last year, Justify won the Triple Crown. Will a horse win it this year? Check out the latest information and Triple Crown odds on America’s most important 5 weeks in the thoroughbred industry.
2019 Triple Crown Preview: Kentucky Derby, Preakness & Belmont
- When: Saturday, May 4
- Where: Churchill Downs Racetrack, Louisville, KY
- Distance: 1 ¼ miles – dirt
If a horse wishes to win the Triple Crown, the horse must first prove its mettle under the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs in the 2019 Kentucky Derby. The most famous horse race in the United States, the Run for the Roses is limited to 3-year-old entrants.
Only 3-year-olds can win the Derby, Preakness, and Belmont. That means, only a 3-year-old horse can win the Triple Crown. It also explains why many owners rush their horses into the Kentucky Derby. There’s only one chance for Derby glory. One.
The Kentucky Derby is the first time most horses will have run 1 ¼ miles, but that’s not the only thing that makes the Derby unique. It’s also the only race in the United States that allows for 20 horses to enter. The Derby is called the First Jewel of the Triple Crown.
- When: Saturday, May 18
- Where: Pimlico Racecourse, Baltimore, MD
- Distance: 1 3/16 miles – dirt
The 2019 Preakness Stakes is the Second Jewel of the Triple Crown. It’s also the oldest of the three races. The first Preakness Stakes was run way back in 1873 while the first Kentucky Derby was run back in 1875.
Pimlico Racecourse, home of the Preakness Stakes, opened in 1870. Because the Preakness is at 1 3/16 miles, less than the 1 ¼ mile Derby, horses that have fared well in the Derby often come back to win the Preakness. Since 2010, I’ll Have Another, American Pharoah, California Chrome, and Justify have all completed the Derby-Preakness double.
- When: Saturday, June 9
- Where: Belmont Park, Elmont, NY
- Distance: 1 ½ miles – dirt
The longest of the three Triple Crown races, the 2019 Belmont Stakes takes place at the only 1 ½ mile racetrack in the United States, Belmont Park. The Belmont Stakes is called the Test of Champions.
Makes sense because plenty of horses have completed the Derby-Preakness double only to lose the Third Jewel of the Triple Crown. Spectacular Bid, Alysheba, Sunday Silence, Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Charismatic, War Emblem, Funny Cide, Smarty Jones, Big Brown, and California Chrome all won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness only to lose the Crown in the Belmont Stakes.
If a horse wins the Derby and Preakness, the Belmont Stakes immediately becomes the most important race of the year. It takes a ton of talent, luck, and the horse racing gods smiling down for an equine to win the Triple Crown.
Check out a list of Triple Crown winners:
- 1919 Sir Barton
- 1930 Gallant Fox
- 1935 Omaha
- 1937 War Admiral
- 1941 Whirlaway
- 1943 Count Fleet
- 1946 Assault
- 1948 Citation
- 1973 Secretariat
- 1977 Seattle Slew
- 1978 Affirmed
- 2015 American Pharoah
- 2018 Justify
American Pharoah broke a 37-year-old Triple Crown curse when he got up first in the 2015 Belmont Stakes. Justify won the Triple Crown last year after winning the Belmont. Will a runner take the Triple Crown this year?
The quest to do so starts on Saturday, May 4!