Horse racing’s Triple Crown is one of the most difficult accomplishments to attain, due to the close proximity of the three races on the calendar and the longer win required in the third race, the Belmont Stakes. Each year, though, Triple Crown talk begins to build up after the Kentucky Derby, and if the same horse wins the Preakness Stakes, the pressure and excitement build up to an extreme level through the Belmont. Here are some of the best Triple Crown performances horse betting fans should remember from the young 21st century.
Taking a Quick Look at This Century’s Top Triple Crown Winners in Horse Betting
2014: California Chrome
Going into the Kentucky Derby, California Chrome had a stellar reputation for accomplishments. When he found himself directly behind the early leaders in that race, he put on a surge that carried him easily to the front.
Jockey Victor Espinoza rode him to a gargantuan five-length lead early on in the stretch and then coasted in for the victory. When California Chrome followed that up with a dominating win in the Preakness Stakes, he showed himself as being one of the dominant horses in recent memory. It was that margin of victory in the Kentucky Derby, though, that wrote his name into the memory books.
2002: War Emblem and his Horse Racing Odds
It’s too bad that more people didn’t realize that War Emblem would do so well in the 2002 Kentucky Derby, or else they would have won more money. The odds for him to win were 20.5 to 1, even though he had delivered a crushing victory in the Illinois Derby. The horse followed the same strategy at Churchill Downs and had an easy first half-mile – but was in the lead. He held off the charges from the competitors and sprinted to a four-length victory. The Preakness Stakes was also an easy win or him, although troubles in the start at the Belmont Stakes kept him from winning the Triple Crown.
Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby by an immense 6 ¼-length margin, giving what many experts considered the perfect race. After his decisive victory, people with decades in the handicapping business thought that the Triple Crown would follow easily for Barbaro. Unfortunately, Barbaro fell apart in the Preakness Stakes, a blow that dashed the hopes of everyone who wanted to see another Triple Crown winner.
2004: Smarty Jones
Smarty Jones’ win in the Kentucky Derby was impressive but not the stuff of legend. However, the Preakness Stakes was his time to shine, as he won by an unbelievable 11 ½ lengths. The press and the riding public were convinced that Smarty Jones would become the first Triple Crown champion since Affirmed. Unfortunately, Birdstone took a lead at the eighth pole on the Belmont Stakes, keeping the Triple Crown in its storage case for another year.
2001: Point Given
This horse looked like it had everything one would want in a horse, and he looked ready to dominate the rest of the field. However, he fell out of Triple Crown contention with a fade to fifth place in the Kentucky Derby. However, he won the Preakness Stakes by 2 ¼ lengths, and then carried the Belmont Stakes by a huge 12 ¼ length margin. He would win Horse of the Year for his performance in these two races, leaving racing experts to wonder what could have been if he had just had a better Kentucky Derby. Once again, the difficulty of pulling off three victories in races in three different states, with the Belmont Stakes such a longer race, makes the Triple Crown so difficult to win – and so tantalizing for horse racing fans to follow.