Photo Courtesy: Fortune.com
American Pharoah won the Belmont Stakes, the Preakness and the infamous Kentucky Derby this past weekend. Yet in light of the movie Secretariat, which chronicled the life of the thoroughbred race horse and winner of the Triple Crown in 1973, many Americans hadn't realized what an amazing achievement this marked. Here are five things you probably didn't know about the Triple Crown.
1. Last Winner Was Not Secretariat. Although the movie made the Triple Crown winner infamous, the last two winners were Seattle Slew in 1977 and Affirmed in 1978. Thus it was 42 years since Secretariat won the honor.
2. American Pharoah Isn't A High Prize Winning Horse. American Pharoah was purchased for only $300,000 but has collected $3.37 million in race winnings over his career according to data provider Equibase. California Chrome didn't win crown honors but has collected $6.3 million in prize monies.
3. Track Matters. Many believed that American Pharoah may have had trouble winning if track conditions were wet as in the Preakness. Muddy tracks take more energy to sprint on - think of it like humans running in the sand - and with other contenders on the track that day that were less run prior to the race, a wet track may have crushed American Pharoah's hopes.
4. One Dozen, Who's Counting? The first Triple Crown Winner was Sir Barton in 1919. Since then, there have been 11 more horses added to the exclusive circle: Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assualt (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), American Pharoah (2015).
5. Jockeys Make it Rain. The top 5 jockeys make over $7 million just this year.
- Joel Rosario - Earning $7.3 million
- Irad Ortiz, Jr. - Earning $7.5 million
- John R. Velazquez - Earning $8.3 million
- Javier Castellano - Earning $10.2 million
- Victor Espinoza - Earning $11.3 million