Triple Crown winners through the years, from American Pharoah to Sir Barton

Get ready, horse racing fans: The Belmont Stakes is officially here. 

With the June 9 race comes the prospect that Justify, a chestnut colt that’s already won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, could become the first Triple Crown winner since American Pharoah in 2015 and the 13th horse to win the Triple Crown since Sir Barton first claimed the title in 1919.

The young horse is largely favored to win Belmont on Saturday.


While other thoroughbreds such as Bravazo, Vino Rosso and Hofburg could pose a threat to Justify’s potential Triple Crown feat, the colt is no stranger to overcoming the odds. After winning the Kentucky Derby, Justify became the first horse since 1882 to win the race without first competing as a 2-year-old.

Ahead of the Belmont Stakes, here’s a look at past Triple Crown winners.

American Pharoah, 2015

American Pharoah won the Triple Crown in 2015.  (Reuters)

Fun fact: American Pharoah became to first horse to win the Triple Crown in nearly 40 years.

Affirmed, 1978

Affirmed at Spendthrift Farm in 1981.  (Visindar)

Fun fact: Affirmed only barely won the Triple Crown, nearly losing each race — the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes — to his rival, Alydar.

Seattle Slew, 1977

Jean Cruguet is smiling and up in the irons after taking Seattle Slew across the finish line to win the 109th running of the Belmont Stakes, and the Triple Crown, at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., Saturday, June 11, 1977. Seattle Slew led the race from the starting gate.  (AP Photo)

Fun fact: In 1977, Seattle Slew became the first undefeated horse to win the Triple Crown.

Secretariat, 1973

Triple Crown winner Secretariat, with his usual jockey Ron Turcotte aboard, struts past the grandstand at Aqueduct Rack Track in New York, Nov. 6, 1973, as the three-year-old colt, nicknamed “Super Red” by his fans, made a final appearance before going to stud at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky.  (AP Photo/ Dave Pickoff)

Fun fact: Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes by an impressive 31 lengths, besting the record Count Fleet set in 1943.

Citation, 1948

Citation (1945–1970) was the eighth American Triple Crown winner and one of three major North American Thoroughbreds (along with Cigar and Zenyatta) to win at least 16 races in a row in major stakes competition.  (Public Domain)

Fun fact: Citation became the first race horse to earn just over $1 million.

Assault, 1946

Wearing a garland of Roses, Assault stands in the Kentucky Derby winner’s circle, May 4, 1946 at Louisville, with (left to right) Mrs. Robert J. Kleberg, Jr.; Jockey Warren Mehrtens; and owner Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. of King Ranch, Texas.  (AP Photo)

Fun fact: Assault won the Triple Crown in 1946 despite an injury early on in his life that left him with a deformed hoof and a limp.

Count Fleet, 1943

Count Fleet in New York on May 22, 1943. Longden rode Count Fleet to thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, with victories in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.  (AP Photo)

Fun fact: Count Fleet won the Kentucky Derby by three lengths, the Preakness Stakes by eight and Belmont Stakes by a whopping 25 lengths.

Whirlaway, 1941

Whirlaway, wearing the rose blanket after winning the Kentucky Derby, is seen with jockey Eddie Arcaro and trainer Ben Jones at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on May 3, 1941.  (AP Photo)

Fun fact: Known for his thick, long tail, Whirlaway’s fans subsequently gave him a fitting nickname: Mr. Longtail.

War Admiral, 1937

War Admiral with C. Kurtsinger on June 5, 1937  (AP Photo)

Fun fact: War Admiral, the colt from another famous sire, Man o’ War, was also known for rivalry with another famous racing horse: Seabiscuit.

Omaha, 1935

Omaha is galloping in his last hard workout prior to the $25,000 at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore on May 10, 1935 at Preakness.  (AP Photo)

Fun fact: Aside from his racing accomplishments, Omaha was also  known for his tall stature, measuring roughly 17 hands tall.

Gallant Fox, 1930

Famous jockey “The Earl of Sande” up on his third Kentucky Derby winner Gallant Fox after the finish of the classic at Churchill Downs, Kentucky on May 19, 1930  (AP Photo)

Fun fact: Gallant Fox went on to sire a future Triple Crown winner: Omaha.

Sir Barton, 1919

Sir Barton and Jockey Johnny Loftus. Preakness Stakes May 14, 1919.  (AP Photo)

Fun fact: Sir Barton, who was plagued with tender feet and would often lose his horse shoes, later became a U.S. Army remount in Wyoming.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

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