Winning the Triple Crown™ is the biggest honor that every horse racing team strives for. Jockey, Trainer, Owner and everyone in between sets out at the Kentucky Derby® for their first win, enters the Preakness Stakes with high hopes, and then aims to complete the trifecta at the Belmont Stakes. What many don’t realize is how rare it is for a horse to mark his name in history as a Triple Crown™ winner, only 12 have succeeded!
Derby Experiences is breaking down each victory, pedigree and team of the 12 Triple Crown™ winners in a 12-part series. Starting with Sir Barton in 1919 and ending in American Pharaoh in 2015, saddle-up, because here we go. This week’s Triple Crown™ winner is Count Fleet who claimed victory in 1943.
The Wartime Winner
Count Fleets' one year racing career was short, but full of wins and successes. According to his jockey, Johnny Longden, he was the best horse there ever was and many agreed with him. During this time in history, taking a trip to the Kentucky Derby® was a luxury while gas and tires were being rationed. John D. Hertz, the owner of Count Fleet was also the owner of the Yellow Cab Company, so getting to the Derby was not an issue for this racing team.
During the 1943 Kentucky Derby®, Longden kept it simple since Count Fleet was such a quick horse on his own. Together, they shot to the lead from the very beginning, stayed at a steady pace and went wire-to-wire with no threat in sight, winning the race by three lengths.
They took a similar approach at the Preakness Stakes, except this time winning by a huge eight lengths.
When the time came, Count Fleet raced in the last leg of the Triple Crown™, Belmont Stakes, with a similar story to War Admiral who was the Triple Crown™ winner six years prior. Just like War Admiral, Count Fleet injured himself at the start of the race hurting his front left ankle. Longden knew something was wrong and let the colt run until he was comfortable, but there was no holding him back. Count Fleet ignored the pain and won by an unheard of 25 lengths and came within a second of the track record.
He was then crowned the sixth Triple Crown™ winner, but his ankle injury worsened, and he never raced again following the 1943 Belmont Stakes.
Be Part of History at the First Leg of the Triple Crown™ in 2018
Derby Experiences provides an unmatched experience during the Kentucky Derby® weekend. Providing tickets directly from Churchill Downs®, you can be sure your tickets are the best you can get. Your experience will be complete with an array of seating selections, hospitality venues, accommodation options located throughout Louisville, and exclusive party access. Get ready for an experience you cannot obtain anywhere else. Don’t wait! Start planning your trip with Derby Experiences, today.