Winning the Triple Crown™ is a prestigious honor. Comprised of three races; Preakness Stakes, the Kentucky Derby® and Belmont Stakes, becoming a Triple Crown™ winner is the greatest honor that any horse racing team strives to achieve throughout their racing career. With that being said, only 12 horses in history have won the Triple Crown™, proving just how hard it is to complete the trifecta.
Belmont Experiences is breaking down each of the 12 Triple Crown™ winners for you in a 12-part series occurring every Tuesday. This week’s Triple Crown™ winner is a one year wonder Count Fleet wore the crown in 1943!
Count Fleet – 1943 Triple Crown™ Winner
Johnny Longden, the jockey who rode Count Fleet to his Triple Crown™ victory, was the thoroughbreds biggest fan and said he was the best horse of that time, to which many fans agreed. During this time in history, gas and tires were rationed and many horse racing teams struggled to get to and from races with enough resources. However, John D. Hertz the owner of the Yellow Cab Company also owned Count Fleet, so getting to the Kentucky Derby® was not an his for this team.
Count Fleet was an independently fast horse, which made his jockey’s job very easy. Longdon kept it very simple during the 1943 Kentucky Derby®. The pair kept a steady pace and went wire-to-wire with no threat in sight, winning the Derby by three lengths. Following a similar story at the Preakness Stakes but this time winning by a larger margin of eight lengths!
During the Belmont Stakes, Count Fleet had a parallel experience to War Admiral who was the Triple Crown™ winner in 1937. Count Fleet injured himself coming out of the starting gate, and his jockey knew something was off but allowed him to go on his own until he felt comfortable. The colt ignored the pain in his left ankle and won by 25 lengths, coming within a second of the track record at that time!
The ankle injury was so bad that Count Fleet never raced again following the 1943 Belmont Stakes.
See if 2018 Will Bring a New Triple Crown™ Winner
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