Omaha – 1935 Triple Crown Winner
Omaha followed in his fathers, Gallant Fox’s, footsteps when he won the U.S Triple Crown in 1935. He was foaled at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky. His owner was William Woodward Sr’s, Belair Stud in Bowie, Maryland. He was trained by “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons who also trained Gallant Fox. Canadian jockey Smokey Saunders rode him for most of his career. And as a two year old he only won once out of nine times.
In 1935 he was the second choice in the Kentucky Derby. He came from the outside to take lead in the backstretch and went on to win by a length and a half. This made the third time jockey Smokey Saunders rode a Kentucky Derby winning horse. Then a week later he easily won the Preakness Stakes by six lengths. He then went on to secure his Triple Crown champion title by winning the Belmont Stakes with a surprising lead on a rainy, gray day.
Done in America after a few losses after his Triple Crown victory, he was shipped to England in January 1936. During his time in England he made four starts, won twice, and placed second twice. On May 30 he won the Queen’s Plate at Kempton Park race course. But on June 18 in front of about 200,000 spectators he lost the 2.5 mile Ascot Gold Cup. In his only other loss while he was in England he ran second by a neck in the 1 ½ mile Princess of Wales Stakes at Newmarket racecourse.
He then retired to stud at Claiborne Farms but didn’t perform satisfactorily. So in 1943 he was turned over to the Jockey Clubs Breeding Bureau which sent him to a stud farm in New York State where he remained for seven years. In 1950 he was moved to Nebraska and spent the last nine years of his life on a farm outside of Nebraska City. During the 1950’s he was taken to the Ak-Sar-Ben racetrack in Omaha for publicity stunts. He had pictures taken with small children on his back and ran around the track for the delight of the crowd.
In 1959 Omaha died at the age of 27. He was buried in the circle of champions at the Ak-Sar-Ben racetrack. He was ranked #61 on the Blood-Horse magazine’s list of the Top 100 US Racehorses of the 20th century. In the end his record was 22 starts: 9 wins- 7 seconds- and 2 thirds. And he made $154,705.