triple-crown

American Pharoah won the Breeders’ Cup Classic in October, on top of earning the Triple Crown. This year he is top horse. But where does he fit in the list of greatest horses that the U.S. has produced?

Here is my list of the top five, greatest horses who have won the Triple Crown since 1930 and a look at their racing careers.

1) Secretariat

Secretariat appears at the top of just about every list of greatest horses. Comparing his times in the Triple Crown is eye opening. He achieved the fastest times of any of the horses on the list, a total of 6:16.4 for all three.

His win in 1973, the first since 1948, made a major impact on a country reeling from Watergate. But he actually had a slow start to his racing career. In 1972 he finished in fourth place at Aqueduct Racetrack, though he followed this with five consecutive wins.

Secretariat earned the Eclipse Award for two-year-old males, as well as the Horse of the Year in 1972. He actually wasn’t the top favorite as he entered the Kentucky Derby the next year, due to medical problems and slow finishes.

2) Seattle Slew

Seattle Slew won the Crown in 1977 with a total time of 6:26.2. He went into the year undefeated in every race he competed. He ran three races in his first season in 1976, earning the Champion 2-Year-Old award for that year.

Following his win of the Triple Crown, Slew sired a large number of future winners, including Swale, Landaluce, Slew o’ Gold, Indy and Surfside.

3) American Pharoah

American Pharoah had a total Triple Crown time of 6:28.13. He won the Breeders’ Cup, a relatively new race that wasn’t around when the other Triple Crown winners were at their peak. Winning the combination of Triple Crown plus Breeders’ Cup has been given the name Pharoah Slam in his honor.

He started slowly in his first race as a two year old, but went on to win a number of other races by several lengths. Even with all his wins, several experts feel Pharoah hasn’t reached his peak. However, it looks like he is destined to retire to Coolmore’s Ashford Stud.

4) Citation

Citation won the Triple Crown in 1948 with a time of 6:36. Over his career, he won 16 major stakes races in a row, a record that no other horse has accomplished. He was also the first million-dollar winner, over the course of his career.

As a two year old, he won his first race. In his third race, he beat the field by five furlongs. In that first year, he lost just one out of nine races. The eight wins brought home winnings worth over $150,000, a huge pot at the time.

5) War Admiral

War Admiral won the Triple Crown in 1937, with a time of 6:30.2. The son of Man ‘O War, he raced Seabiscuit, his nephew, and lost, a competition made famous in the 2003 movie Seabiscuit.

He won 21 of his first 26 races. The year after the Triple Crown, he won eight more major races. His lifetime racing earnings totaled $273,240.