What Horses Have Won the Triple Crown?

The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, commonly known as the Triple Crown, is a series of horse races for three-year-old Thoroughbreds in the United States. The Triple Crown is the summit of Thoroughbred horse racing, pitting racehorses in the world against each other in three races: the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes, and the Preakness Stakes.

Winners of Triple Crown are members of an elite club because it requires a horse to win three races at different distances against the world’s best competition over a grueling schedule. In its long history of more than 155 years, only 13 horses have accomplished this feat.

Here are the horses who have won the triple crown:

1. Sir Barton

Won Triple Crown in: 1919

Sex: Stallion

Color: Chestnut

Trainer: H. Guy Bedwell

Jockey: John Loftus

Record: 31: 13–6–5

Sir Barton was the first horse to earn the prestigious Triple Crown honor. When he turned three in 1919, he competed in the Kentucky Derby and beat his stalemate, Billy Kelly, by an impressive five lengths on a sloppy track. Four days later, he led the entire way at the Preakness Stakes, beating out his competitor by four lengths. Amazingly, Sir Barton also ran in the Withers Stakes and won before sweeping the triple crown’s final length, the Belmont Stakes. Here, he won a new record for a mile and three-eighths race. He did all these within a span of 32 days.

2. Gallant Fox

Won Triple Crown in: 1935

Sex: Stallion

Color: Chestnut

Trainer: James Fitzsimmons

Jockey: Earl Sande

Record: 17: 11-3-2

Gallant Fox sparked the term “Triple Crown” because, after his three victories, Charles Hatton of the Daily Racing Form first used it and put it to common use. Legendary jockey Earl Sande came out of retirement so he could ride the horse while in peak shape. In 1930, Gallant Fox won the Preakness Stakes, which was scheduled before the Kentucky Derby. The stallion went on to win the Derby after a seven-day break and finished the sweep with a win at the Belmont Stakes. His Triple Crown victories spanned 29 days.

3. Omaha

Won Triple Crown in: 1930

Sex: Stallion

Color: Chestnut

Trainer: James Fitzsimmons

Jockey: William Saunders

Record: 22-9-7-2

Omaha is the offspring of former Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox and became the third horse to win the prestigious title. They are the only father and son duo to win the Triple Crown. He’s trained by Jim Fitzsimmons, who also taught Gallant Fox.

Omaha was a big Chestnut colt who didn’t have a spectacular racing career but won when it counted. Omaha won the Kentucky Derby by one length and, one week after, went on to win the Preakness Stakes by six lengths. Racing conditions were far from ideal in the Belmont Stakes, which was Omaha’s final challenge to following his father’s footsteps in getting the Triple Crown. The muddy, rain-saturated track didn’t stop Omaha from beating his biggest competitor and earning the Triple Crown title.

4. War Admiral

Won Triple Crown in: 1937

Sex: Stallion

Color: Chestnut

Trainer: George Conway

Jockey: Charle Kurtsinger

Record: 26: 21-3-1

War Admiral is one of the greatest racehorses that ever raced. He didn’t just win the Triple Crown, but he also set a track record at one and a half miles and went undefeated his three-year-old season. He was also the son of the 1920s superstar horse and Hall of Famer, Man o’ War.

War Admiral may not be as big in size as his father, but his talent and disposition were enough to win him the Kentucky Derby, a race that Man o’ War didn’t compete in. He’s a tenacious racehorse who injured himself just minutes before the start of the Belmont, the final leg of the Triple Crown. While acting out in the starting gate, the stallion slashed his right forefoot but still won the race by three lengths.

5. Whirlaway

Won Triple Crown in: 1941

Sex: Stallion

Color: Chestnut

Trainer: Ben A. Jones

Jockey: Eddie Arcaro

Record: 60: 32-15-9

Whirlaway was a difficult horse to train. The horse’s behavior was unpredictable, and some even described him as a bratty one. Obviously, jockey Eddie Arcaro didn’t look forward to riding the stallion, but he anticipated the results.

Amazingly, he was a stunner. Whirlaway put on an amazing show at the Kentucky Derby. When the race was in its starting phases, he trailed the leader by 14 lengths, but once he reached the home stretched, he kicked into high gear, winning the race by eight lengths. In doing so, he tied the record for winning the Kentucky Derby by the largest margin and set a new record. Whirlaway’s record stood for 21 years. Ultimately, he won the Triple Crown and never finished worse than a third in his 42 starts.

6. Count Fleet

Won Triple Crown in: 1943

Sex: Stallion

Color: Bay

Trainer: G. D. Cameron

Jockey: John Longden

Record: 21: 16-4-1

Count Fleet was a dominant racehorse that only two competitors entered the Belmont Stakes to challenge him. He doesn’t just win races – he regularly crushes his competition. He set the record for the fastest mile ever run by a two-year-old and won the race by 25 lengths. Before that, he won the Derby by three lengths and the Preakness by eight. Unfortunately, after his outstanding Belmont performance, he never recovered from a lingering ankle injury.

7. Assault

Won Triple Crown in: 1946

Sex: Stallion

Color: Chestnut

Trainer: Max Hirsch

Jockey: Warren Mehrtens

Record: 42: 18-6-7

Just three years after Count Fleet won the Triple Crown, Assault galloped into the spotlight as the next champion. He was the first colt bred outside of Kentucky to win the Kentucky Derby. He’s the only Texas-bred horse on this list, and he’s the offspring of a former Kentucky Derby champion, Bold Venture. Assault sustained a nasty foot injury during a foal. The damage was severe that there were discussions about putting him down. However, his Texas breeding saved his life, and he went on to have a stellar career even with a limp.

8. Citation

Won Triple Crown in: 1948

Sex: Stallion

Color: Bay

Trainer: Ben A. Jones

Jockey: Eddie Arcaro

Record: 45: 32–10–2

Citation hit the ground running and had the best two and three-year-old seasons in horse racing history. As a two-year-old, he won eight of nine races he entered and then won sixteen straight races during his three-year-old season. This is the time when he earned the Triple Crown. Citation is the first racehorse in history to win more than $1 million in his 45-race career.

9. Secretariat

Won Triple Crown in: 1973

Sex: Stallion

Color: Chestnut

Trainer: Lucien Laurin

Jockey: Ron Turcotte

Record: 21: 16–3–1

Secretariat was a massive horse with exceptional conformation. Also called the “Big Red,” he may be the greatest racehorse ever to compete. This stallion won the Triple Crown after a 25-year drought and set records at each race. During his Kentucky Derby run, he broke last, but his speed quickly increased over the course. He put on a show at the Belmont and won by 30 lengths. His time in the race wasn’t only a record-breaker but also the fastest 1 ½ miles on dirt in history.

10. Seattle Slew

Won Triple Crown in: 1977

Sex: Stallion

Color: Dark Bay

Trainer: William H. Turner, Jr.

Jockey: Jean Cruguet

Record: 17: 14–2–0

Seattle Slew is the first horse to have gone undefeated before winning the Triple Crown Races. He won the first nine races of his career, including the Belmont Stakes, Kentucky Derby, and Preakness. The next horse to accomplish this feat was Justify in 2018, who was his descendant. In the 1977 Kentucky Derby Race, he outpaced his opponent on the final stretch to the finish line. At that race, Slew seemed ruthless and very competitive – focusing directly at the jockey of his opponent with head bobbing up beside his boot, looking like he can grab on the rider’s leg and yank him off his horse.

11. Affirmed

Won Triple Crown in: 1978

Sex: Stallion

Color: Chestnut

Trainer: Lazaro Barrera

Jockey: Steve Cauthen

Record: 29: 22–5–1

Notably, Affirmed is a great-great-grandson of another Triple Crown Winner, War Admiral. And of all the horses who won the Triple Crown, he had the most formidable foe, Alydar. The two horses had gone head-to-head in a total of 10 races and pushed each other to their limits, but Affirmed held on to win. In seven out of the ten races, Affirmed came out as the winner. In their last race together, Alydar did not go down without a fight. Alydar moved to the rail, challenging Affirmed, but fell short when Affirmed cut him off, almost causing him to collapse. Affirmed won that race, but he was disqualified to race again after because of that infamous cut-off.

12. American Pharoah

Won Triple Crown in: 2015

Sex: Stallion

Color: Bay

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Victor Espinoza

Record: 11: 9–1–0

American Pharoah ended the 37-year-long drought for the Triple Crown when he won it in 2015. At that time, people were starting to believe that the competition in horse racing made winning the Triple Crown in modern times impossible, but this stallion proved them wrong.

His win racked up more than $8 million in prize money. After a short and successful career, American Pharoah retired to stud. Like most horses with prestigious accolades, American Pharoah’s studs sold for a hefty chunk of money.

13. Justify

Won Triple Crown in: 2018

Sex: Stallion

Color: Chestnut

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Mike E. Smith

Record: 6–0–0

When Justify won the Triple Crown in 2018, he set two records: he became the first horse to win the Triple Crown without racing as a two-year-old and the second undefeated horse to win the title, joining Seattle Slew. His nickname at the barn was “Big Red,” and he’s also the only Triple Crown winner to retire undefeated. Justify also had the least experienced, as he only raced six times.