The Triple Crown is a trio of races held in May and June every year for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds and represents one of the greatest achievements in horse racing today. To earn the Triple Crown title, a horse must win each leg of the three-race series: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. And each year, a new crop of 3-year-olds excites the nation with the prospect of a Triple Crown winner.
Winning the Triple Crown has been accomplished just 11 times in its long history, with the latest winner, Affirmed, completing the elusive trifecta over 30 years ago in 1978. Eighteen horses have come close since then, winning two of three races. The most recent near miss came in 2008, when Big Brown won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes but did not finish the Belmont Stakes – a race aptly known as the “Test of the Champion” because of its 1 ½ mile distance. Competing in three races in just over a month is difficult enough. But with the recent trend of trainers entering fresh horses in the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes to compete against the Kentucky Derby winner, winning the Triple Crown will be an incredible feat.
This year, the 2013 Kentucky Derby will be held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on May 4th. The 2013 Preakness Stakes will take place at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Md., on May 18th. And the 2013 Belmont Stakes will be hosted by Belmont Park in Elmont, NY., on June 8th.