Triple Crown HistoryHistory of the Triple Crown by Arthur Bodley
Although most people think of horse racing when they think of the Triple Crown, the term was originally meant to describe something much different and in exploring the Triple Crown History one will find fascinating information. Deep in the annals of Triple Crown history, the term was used in Great Britain to describe an English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish national rugby team that defeated all the other three in a season of play. A little more recently in Triple Crown history, the term got transferred and began referring to the three main English horse races; the St. Leger, the Two Thousand Guineas, and the Derby. Triple Crown history didn't come to the United States until 1930, when a horse named Gallant Fox won the Kentucky Derby, Belmont, and Preakness in a single season. Sports journalist Charles Hatton used the term to describe the wins and it has been in common usage ever since. Only 11 horses have ever won the Triple Crown, with the last being Affirmed in 1978.
Horse racing is quite popular in the United States, thanks in large part to the fact that in many parts of the country, horse racing, along with dog racing, are the only forms of legal in-person gambling. The Triple Crown takes place every summer, beginning with Kentucky Derby betting, which is run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on the first Saturday in May. This is an interesting piece of Triple Crown history in and of itself as this course was built by Meriwether Lewis Clark jr., one of the grandsons of the famous explorer William Clark. Meriwether Clark actually went to England to see how horse tracks were built and how races were run and promoted. When he got back he started the Kentucky Derby. The first race was run on May 17, 1875.
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Although the Preakness comes after the Kentucky Derby every year, from the perspective of Triple Crown history, this race is several years older than the derby. The Preakness takes place on the third Saturday in May at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD. The Preakness was actually named after the first horse to win a stakes race on that track. The winner of the Preakness receives one of the most valuable trophies in all of sports. The Woodlawn Vase, the trophy for the Preakness, was created by Tiffany's in 1860 and is valued at well over $1 million.
The last race of the year was also the first in Triple Crown history, first taking place in 1867. The Belmont Stakes are run every year on the second Saturday in June at Jerome Park, now called Morris Park in New York. Although horse races in the United States traditionally run counter-clockwise, the Belmont followed the English tradition of running clockwise until 1921.
by Arthur Bodley at 1800-sports.com on May 05, 2013
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