The US Triple Crown is one of the most coveted titles in horse racing. Find out about the 2017 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes in this guide to the 2017 Triple Crown.
The prestigious Triple Crown is one of the most coveted titles in American horse racing with a combined prize purse of $5 million. The Crown is awarded to three-year-old thoroughbreds who win all of the country’s major Group One fixtures in one year: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. Just 12 horses have won the title, including the legendary Secretariat in 1973, who holds the record for all three races. So, who is set to race in the US Triple Crown 2017?
The Kentucky Derby
Where: Churchill Downs Racetrack, Louiseville Kentucky
When: First Saturday in May
Track: 2,000 meters, dirt
Prize purse: $2 million
Record: 1:59.4, Secretariat
Over 155,000 spectators gather each year to watch the Kentucky Derby, which has been dubbed ‘the most exciting two minutes in sport’. The race began in 1875 and is the longest continuously running sporting event in the US, attended by celebrities, presidents, and even Queen Elizabeth II. Traditions include starting the race with a rendition of My Old Kentucky Home and draping a garland of 400 red roses around the winner, giving the race its nickname The Run for the Roses.
The 2017 Kentucky Derby was won by trainer Todd Pletcher’s Always Dreaming with jockey John Velazquez. The pair stayed on the inside and assured victory from the final turn, winning by two and three quarter lengths ahead of rival Lookin At Lee.
The Preakness Stakes
Where: Pimlico Racetrack, Baltimore, Maryland
When: Third Saturday in May
Track: 1,900 meters, dirt
Prize purse: $1.5 million
Record: 1:53.4, Secretariat
The second and shortest leg of the Crown was established in 1873 and named after the colt Preakness who won the Dinner Party Stakes on the day Pimlico Racetrack opened. The race is known as The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans since the winner is awarded a wreath of the state’s iconic yellow flowers. This year, the 142nd Preakness Stakes was won by Cloud Computing, trained by Chad Brown and jockeyed by Javier Castellano. The horse stormed to victory from the back of the pack past Always Dreaming, who finished eighth, dashing the hopes of there being a 2017 Triple Crown winner.
The Belmont Stakes
Where: Belmont Park Race track, Belmont, New York
When: Third Saturday after the Preakness Stakes, on 10th June 2017
Track: 2,400 meters, dirt
Prize purse: $1.5 million
Record: 2:24, Secretariat
The Belmont Stakes is termed The Test of the Champion since it’s the longest and final leg of the Crown. The race is also the oldest, dating back to 1867, and traditions include starting the race with the theme song from New York, New York and giving the winner a wreath of white carnations. This year, the Belmont Stakes is part of an 18-racecard weekend from the 8th to 10th June, which includes six Group One fixtures. The 149th edition of the Belmont Stakes itself is scheduled as the second race on Saturday 10th.
Although there will be no Triple Crown winner in 2017, contenders for the Belmont Stakes include Classic Empire at 7/5, Epicharis and Lookin At Lee both at 19/5. The Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winners Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing both have current odds of 4/1.