Kentucky Derby Preakness Stakes Belmont Stakes
 

Triple Crown Racing

For horse racing fans the season gets more exciting when a potential Triple Crown candidate emerges. As the Kentucky Derby approaches a handful of horses are discussed but after the Derby only one horse has a chance. And if that horse wins the Preakness also, then the fun really begins. Can anyone beat him? Is he the best race horse ever? One more race will tell.

The Kentucky Derby

The first jewel in the Triple Crown is the Kentucky Derby. This race has earned the reputation of “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”. For most race fans the derby is a day long affair of mint juleps, classy to crazy hats, and celebrity watching. But for the horse owners, the “Run for the Roses” is the first step to see if their thoroughbred has a shot at the crown.

2014 Winner: California Chrome
It never was in doubt as California Chrome broke at the top of the home stretch to easily win the 140th Kentucky Derby.  Jockey Victor Espinoza rode the 5-2 favorite in an absolutely impressive race to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Commanding Curve, with Danza third.

2013 Winner: Orb
The co-favorite Orb ridden by jockey Joel Rosario worked his way through the sloppy Churchill Downs tracks and moved to the front with about 200 yards to go.  Orb edged long-shot Golden Soul by several lengths to win the 2013 Kentucky Derby.

2012 Winner: I’ll Have Another
Jockey Mario Gutierrez guided I’ll Have Another as he chased down one of the favorites, Bodemeister, in the 138th Kentucky Derby. Does he have another Triple Crown leg in him?

2011 Winner: Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, came from the middle of the pack to finish 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Nehro and Mucho Macho Man to win the 137th Kentucky Derby. This was Animal Kingdom’s first race on dirt and Velazquez had been scheduled to ride early favorite Uncle Mo until he was scratched with a stomach infection.

2010 Winner: Super Saver
Calvin Borel wins his 3rd of the last 4 Derbies by hitting the rail with Super Saver and only having to pass 1 horse to give Todd Pletcher his first Kentucky Derby win.

2009 Winner: Mine That Bird
Calvin Borel hugged the rail again and made his move inside to take the 50-1 shot to the winners circle. Mine that Bird pulled away to a huge 6 3/4 length victory for the 2nd largest upset since 1913.

2008 Winner: Big Brown
Kent Desormeaux rode the favorite, Big Brown, to victory at Churchhill Downs. The unbeaten Big Brown took control on the home turn and cruised to a 4 3/4 length win. Unfortunately the runner up, Eight Belles, collapsed on the track after breaking both ankles and had to be euthanized.

2007 Winner: Street Sense
Before a crowd of 156,635, jockey Calvin Borel executed a well planned attack as Street Sense became the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby after winning the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile race. Borel held Street Sense back early holding in 19th place of the 20 horses. A move to the rail began his march past the others. Then sweeping wide he caught Hard Spun with an eighth of a mile to go and cruised to victory.

The Preakness Stakes

Thoroughbred racing comes to Maryland on the third Saturday in May each year for the second and shortest leg in The triple Crown. This week-long celebration concludes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore and determines if there will be a Triple Crown contender for the year.

2014 Winner: California Chrome
The second jewel in the Triple Crown now belongs to California Chrome.  Jockey Victor Espinoza settled the 3 year old into what seems like his favorite spot, third.  Then over 120,000 fans cheered at Pimlico Race Course as California Chrome led the last five-sixteenths and finished 1 1/2 lengths ahead of a gaining Ride On Curlin.

2013 Winner: Oxbow
No Triple Crown again this year.  15-1 shot Oxbow goes wire to wire for jockey Gary Stevens and trainer Wayne Lucas.  3-5 favorite Orb was never in contention.

2012 Winner: I’ll Have Another
I’ll Have Another has another… leg of the Triple Crown, that is!  Again it was a thrilling finish as I’ll Have Another chased down Bodemeister to win the 2012 Preakness.  Will this be the year?  We’ll find out in three weeks at The Belmont.  Stay tuned….

2011 Winner: Shackleford
No Triple Crown Winner again this year as 12-1 underdog Shackleford held on as the late charging Animal Kingdom ran out of track. This was a fast race as jockey Jesus Castanon took Shackleford quickly to the lead and never gave it up.

2010 Winner: Lookin at Lucky
Jockey Martin Garcia, the youngest rider in the race, brings home another Preakness Champion for Bob Baffert.

2009 Winner: Rachel Alexandra
WOW! That Girl Can Run. Calvin Borel changed horses but had the same result as the filly over powered the field.

2008 Winner: Big Brown
Big Brown dominated the weak field and never faced a serious challenge.

2007 Winner: Curlin
There will be no Triple Crown winner again in 2007. Curlin, who was undefeated but only in 3 races prior to the derby, bested the field of 9 for the Preakness crown.

The Belmont Stakes

2 down 1 to go – can we crown a new champion? The Belmont Stakes is the oldest of the Triple Crown races. This third and final leg is contested three weeks after the Preakness and five weeks after the Kentucky Derby. Only 11 times has a horse been able to wrap it all up in New York.

2014 Winner: Tonalist
Tonalist says… there will be no Triple Crown winner this year.  The drought continues as jockey Joel Rosario ran a powerful race and finished strong as California Chrome faded on the outside down the final stretch.

2013 Winner: Palace Malice
Palace Malice ridden by jockey Mike Smith beat out Oxbow (2nd) and Orb (3rd) to win the 145th Belmont Stakes.  85 year old owner Cot Campbell watched as his horse passed the Preakness winner and held off the Kentucky Derby winner’s late charge to win the third leg of the Triple Crown.

2012 Winner: Union Rags
Although somewhat anti-climatic after I’ll Have Another was scratched, The Belmont still offered up a thrilling finish as Union Rags chased down Paynter to win the 144th Belmont Stakes by a neck.  After a disappointing 7th finish in the Kentucky Derby, Union Rags ridden by new jockey, John Velazquez, found a hole with slightly over 100 yards left and closed the gap on Bob Baffert’s horse Paynter.

2011 Winner: Ruler On Ice
Another longshot wins at the Belmont again this year as Jose Valdiva Jr. rides a strategic race and guides Ruler On Ice to a 3/4 length victory over Stay Thirsty. Ruler on Ice skipped the Derby and Preakness apparently to rest up for the Belmont Stakes. The odds of the last four Belmont winners were 24-1, 13-1, 11-1 and 38-1. The favorites seem to have trouble here – just ask Animal Kingdom about his rough start!

2010 Winner: Drosselmeyer
It’s another year without a Triple Crown Winner as Drosselmeyer surprises the field and overtakes everybody down the stretch from the outside. This year we were guaranteed a different winner in each race as the Derby and Preakness winners passed on the Belmont. Drosselmeyer went off at 13-1.

2009 Winner: Summer Bird
Calvin Borel was going for a “Jockey’s Triple Crown” on his third horse this series but was denied the trifecta when Summer Bird, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, went wide and flew by everyone down the stretch.

2008 Winner: Da’ Tara
There will be no Triple Crown winner this year. Long shot Da’ Tara wins the Belmont paying $79 for a $2 bet. Big Brown finished last when jockey Kent Desormeaux pulled up after realizing something was wrong with his horse.

2007 Winner: Rags to Riches
A Filly? For the first time in 102 years a filly wins the Belmont Stakes. This year the Belmont didn’t create much pre-race hype but after an exciting stretch duel Rags to Riches created her own story. Since 1900 eleven other fillies have entered the Belmont Stakes and finally #12 has won. Congratulations to Rags to Riches and her jockey, John Velazquez!