Triple Crown – History and 2023 Preview

Triple Crown - History and 2023 Preview
Triple Crown – History and 2023 Preview

The 2023 Triple Crown gets underway on Saturday with the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby. The ‘Run for the Roses’ follows quickly by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, the races that complete the Triple Crown series.

These races are for the Classic generation, for three-year-olds only. This means that horses get just one crack at glory. It’s a grueling schedule, three races in just over five weeks for relatively young horses. Not many horses even compete in all three races, let alone win them all.

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Triple Crown – History and 2023 Preview

The Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is the first event of the year. The race is always the first Saturday in May and is at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. First run in 1875, the race is 1.25 miles. Aristides won the first runs.

Often comprising the largest field in the Triple Crown series as everybody wants to take their shot, the Kentucky Derby can be a rough and tumble event. However, Rich Strike took the prize in 2022, an amazing win at 80-1 for trainer Eric Reed and jockey Sonny Leon.

The Derby attracts a huge crowd; 158,070 people were on the course in 2017. Churchill Downs bursts with tradition on these occasions. From the singing of ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ to the outfield teems with spectators sipping their mint juleps.

The Preakness Stakes

The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the Triple Crown. It is held on the third Saturday in May. The race will be run over the distance of 9.5 furlongs at Pimlico Racecourse in Maryland. Known as ‘The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans.’ Survivor won the first running in 1873, while Early Voting took the honors in 2022 for Chad Brown and Jose Ortiz.

The Belmont Stakes

The Belmont Stakes rounds out the series each year on the first or second Saturday of June. The race is the longest of the trio at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, with the horses being upped to a distance of 1.5 miles. It is also the oldest of the three races, having first been contested in 1867 and won by Ruthless. Mo Donegal won the 2022 renewal, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.

Triple Crown Winners

The Triple Crown is a difficult thing to win. It takes a special horse to win three races, at three different distances, against top-class opposition, all in the space of five weeks. These are young horses who have only had a handful of career starts. They need to cope with the crowds, the travel, and the intensity of the schedule. Getting a horse to the starting gate for every race is an achievement in itself. However, winning it is another level.

There have been thirteen Triple Crown winners over the years, indicating how difficult the achievement is. Sir Barton was the first. The most notable winners include 1937 champ War Admiral, the regally bred stallion who was engaged in that famous match with Seabiscuit, which was immortalized on the silver screen.

1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat is the most vaunted of those on the roll of honor. He holds the record time for all three races. His 2 minute 24 second time in the Belmont Stakes set a world record at a distance, which still stands today.

More recently, American Pharoah in 2015 became the first horse to achieve the feat in 37 years. Justified followed that up quickly in 2018 as the last horse to do so.

2023 Triple Crown Race Schedule and How to Watch

The Kentucky Derby – Saturday, May 6
The Preakness – Saturday, May 20
The Belmont Stakes – Saturday, June 10

NBC will broadcast the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

Fox Sports will broadcast the Belmont Stakes.

2023 Triple Crown Contenders

To take on the Triple Crown, you have to win the Kentucky Derby, so this is the only logical place to start when looking for horses that can win all three.

Forte – 12/1 to win the Triple Crown

Forte – 12/1 to win the Triple Crown. The Derby favorite. The Todd Pletcher inmate is one of three that the trainer has, yet you can make a case for all of them. Forte has shown most on the track so far. The juvenile Champion has a six-for-seven record, including four grade 1 wins.

Forte won the Florida Derby five weeks ago, overcoming a potentially tricky draw. The horse has the perfect platform on all known forms, so as a result, it’s reasonable that he is your most likely Triple Crown winner.

Tapit Trice – 25/1 to win the Triple Crown

Of Pletcher’s other two, Tapit Trice (25/1 for the TC) is the most intriguing. The horse is totally different in its needs to Forte. Tapit Trice has won the Bluegrass Stakes and was then sent to win the Tampa Bay Derby in an effort to keep him away from his stablemate. Pletcher’s third choice, Kingsbarns (50/1), didn’t run as a two-year-old, which makes him somewhat of a fly in the ointment, but don’t be surprised if he will know his job.

Other Longshots

Angel of Empire (50/1) is a horse that has only impressed in his Derby prep work. However, winning two of the tough qualifiers, his win last time out in the Arkansas Derby was visually impressive. He heads into the Triple Crown series holding valid claims.

Two Phil’s (100/1) is America’s horse. He won the Jeff Ruby stakes and has proved a versatile type. He’s 14/1 for the Derby, and if he wins, you can be sure that connections will let him take his shot at landing all three prizes.

Forte caught Mage (150/1) close home by in the Florida Derby. Another that didn’t run as a two-year-old. Mage will have to find something to reverse the form with the favorite.

Practical Move (40/1) won the San Felipe and the Santa Anita Derby. That is solid form, and his single-figure price reflects his chance to win the 1st leg on Saturday.

The Japanese are becoming a huge global racing influence. Derma Sotogake (50/1) represents them. The horse won the UAE Derby and is partnered with Christophe Lemaire, and you write him off at your peril.

The Triple Crown is incredibly tricky to win. Additionally, the schedule is unforgiving, and you need a horse that has the speed to win over nine furlongs but the stamina to do it over 12. And most of all, you need luck. Win the Run for the Roses, and it’s game on.

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