The Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing is one of the most prestigious thoroughbred horse competition currently in existence. Various Triple Crowns are held across the globe and most race horse owners always make a point of entering their best three-year-olds in the different races.
Triple Crowns are made of three individual races where the world's greatest three-year-old thoroughbred horses are put through their paces. The competition at each race is fierce and it is very seldom that any one horse will be able to take first place at all three racing events. Such an accomplishment is considered the pinnacle of the Triple Crown horse racing competition and it elevates the status and value of both the horse and the owner quite considerably. Since it is strictly for three year old horses, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the horse to excel.
The Triple Crown began in 1853 when a horse by the name of West Australian won three major races in England. The races where the Two Thousand Guineas Stakes in Suffolk, the Epsom Derby in Surrey and the St. Leger Stakes in Yorkshire. This remarkable accomplishment led to the establishment of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. Since most race horses specialise in specific distances it takes a remarkable horse to win all three races. Indeed, in the 150 years that this event has been held annually in England, only 15 horses have ever won the Crown. The last winner of the English Triple Crown was Nijinsky II who took the crown in 1970.
Since the establishment of the Triple Crown in England, several other countries have followed suit. The United States, Canada and Japan all have their own versions. In the United States, the Triple Crown is made up of the Kentucky Derby in Kentucky, the Preakness Stakes in Maryland, and the Belmont Stakes in New York. Whilst the term "Triple Crown" may refer to other sports in other countries, in America it refers primarily to this horse racing event. The USA Triple Crown has also proven to be an incredibly difficult race to win. In the over 125 years that the race has been held, only 11 horses have won the event. The most recent winner was a horse called Affirmed who won in 1978. He was followed by Alydar who came second in all three races - the only horse to have ever done so. Several horses have come close since then, winning the first two races and then failing to win the third. The closest was Real Quiet who lost the Belmont Stakes by a nose in 1998. The most recent was Smarty Jones who lost the Belmont Stakes by a length in 2004.
The Triple Crown of Canadian Thoroughbred Racing was inaugurated in 1959. It consists of the Queen's Plate, the Prince of Wales Stakes and the Breeder's Stakes and has been won by seven horses. The most recent winner was Wando, who streaked past the finish line in 2003. In Japan, the Japanse Triple Crown has only been won by six horses. The Triple Crown races are the Satsuki Sho, the Tokyo Yushun and the Kikuka Sho. It was last won by Deep Impact in 2005.