Triple Crown Winners and Near Misses

horse racing triple crown
The Triple Crown Trophy. Cindy Pierson Dulay

Only twelve horses have won the elusive Triple Crown. The grueling schedule of three races in 5 weeks at longer distances than most have run previously in their careers is probably the most difficult task any horse will face in his racing career. American Pharoah finally got the job done in 2015 to become the 12th Triple Crown Champion, with spectacular victories in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes.

Affirmed in 1978 was the last Triple Crown winner prior to him, so it was a 37 year gap.  How long will it take next time?

1919Sir BartonJohn LoftusH. G. BedwellJ. K. L. Ross
1930Gallant FoxEarl SandeJames FitzsimmonsBelair Stud
1935OmahaWilliam SaundersJames FitzsimmonsBelair Stud
1937War AdmiralCharley KurtsingerGeorge ConwaySamuel D. Riddle
1941WhirlawayEddie ArcaroBen A. JonesCalumet Farm
1943Count FleetJohn LongdenDon CameronMrs. J. D. Hertz
1946AssaultWarren MehrtensMax HirschKing Ranch
1948CitationEddie ArcaroBen A. JonesCalumet Farm
1973SecretariatRon TurcotteLucien LaurinMeadow Stable
1977Seattle SlewJean CruguetWilliam Turner, Jr.Karen L. Taylor
1978AffirmedSteve CauthenLazaro S. BarreraHarbor View Farm
2015American PharoahVictor EspinozaBob BaffertZayat Racing Stables

There have been 47 horses who won two out of the three Triple Crown races but only 23 who won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness only to fail in the Belmont Stakes.

The list below gives those horses along with where they finished in the Belmont and who beat them. None of them were between 1997 and 2014, so we were more than due for someone to finally win. It was so wonderful to see American Pharoah get the job done in 2015.

Triple Crown Near Misses (Derby/Preakness doubles)
YearHorseBelmont finish
1932Burgoo King(Did not start)
1936Bold Venture(Did not start)
1944Pensive2nd (Bounding Home)
1958Tim Tam2nd (Cavan)
1961Carry Back7th (Sherluck)
1964Northern Dancer3rd (Quadrangle)
1966Kauai King4th (Amberoid)
1968**Forward Pass2nd (Stage Door Johnny)
1969Majestic Prince2nd (Arts and Letters)
1971Canonero II4th (Pass Catcher)
1979Spectacular Bid3rd (Coastal)
1981Pleasant Colony3rd (Summing)
1987Alysheba4th (Bet Twice)
1989Sunday Silence2nd (Easy Goer)
1997Silver Charm2nd (Touch Gold)
1998Real Quiet2nd (Victory Gallop)
1999Charismatic3rd (Lemon Drop Kid)
2002War Emblem8th (Sarava)
2003Funny Cide3rd (Empire Maker)
2004Smarty Jones2nd (Birdstone)
2008Big BrownDNF (Da'Tara)
2012I'll Have Another(Did not start)
2014California Chrome4th (Tonalist)
**Won on disqualification.

Here are the 24 horses who won either the Derby/Belmont or Preakness/Belmont double but lost the other race, along with how they finished in that race.

Triple Crown Near Misses
(Derby/Belmont or Preakness/Belmont doubles)
YearHorseRaces WonRace Lost (Winner)
1920Man O'WarPreakness/Belmontdid not run in the Derby
1922PilloryPreakness/Belmontdid not run in the Derby
1923ZevDerby/Belmont12th Preakness (Vigil)
1931Twenty GrandDerby/Belmont2nd Preakness (Mate)
1939JohnstownDerby/Belmont5th Preakness (Challedon)
1940BimelechPreakness/Belmont2nd Derby (Gallahadion)
1942Shut OutDerby/Belmont5th Preakness (Alsab)
1949CapotPreakness/Belmont2nd Derby (Ponder)
1950MiddlegroundDerby/Belmont2nd Preakness (Hill Prince)
1953Native DancerPreakness/Belmont2nd Derby (Dark Star)
1955NashuaPreakness/Belmont2nd Derby (Swaps)
1956NeedlesDerby/Belmont2nd Preakness (Fabius)
1963ChateaugayDerby/Belmont2nd Preakness (Candy Spots)
1967DamascusPreakness/Belmont3rd Derby (Proud Clarion)
1972Riva RidgeDerby/Belmont4th Preakness (Bee Bee Bee)
1974Little CurrentPreakness/Belmont5th Derby (Cannonade)
1976Bold ForbesDerby/Belmont3rd Preakness (Elocutionist)
1984SwaleDerby/Belmont7th Preakness (Gate Dancer)
1988Risen StarPreakness/Belmont3rd Derby (Winning Colors)
1991HanselPreakness/Belmont10th Derby (Strike the Gold)
1994Tabasco CatPreakness/Belmont6th Derby (Go For Gin)
1995Thunder GulchDerby/Belmont3rd Preakness (Timber Country)
2001Point GivenPreakness/Belmont5th Derby (Monarchos)
2005Afleet AlexPreakness/Belmont3rd Derby (Giacomo)
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Your Citation
Dulay, Cindy Pierson. "Triple Crown Winners and Near Misses." ThoughtCo, Sep. 4, 2016, Dulay, Cindy Pierson. (2016, September 4). Triple Crown Winners and Near Misses. Retrieved from Dulay, Cindy Pierson. "Triple Crown Winners and Near Misses." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 21, 2017).