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Indiana Horse Racing Commission

What are the Chances of a Triple Crown Winner this Year?

If you’ve only followed the sport of horse racing for the last few years, you might thing that Triple Crown winners are fairly common. After all, we’ve seen two very recently with American Pharoah winning it in 2015 and then the undefeated Justify doing it again in 2018. Both horses swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes for trainer Bob Baffert. But will it happen again this year? History tells us probably not.If you are looking to bet the Triple Crown this year, you have plenty of options, including Pabets, which takes the hassle out of going to the track and waiting in line.

Before American Pharoah accomplished the feat, there was a 37-year gap going back to Affirmed in 1978. And even though there were two other Triple Crown winners in the 1970s with Secretariat in 1973 and Seattle Slew in 1977, there was another 25-year gap in there going back to Citation. Going further back, it was a somewhat common occurrence with a total of seven Triple Crown winners in the 1930s and 1940s, but the sport was much different back then.

One recent trend that makes the Triple Crown more difficult is that some trainers will hold their horse out of the Kentucky Derby and instead aim for the Preakness or Belmont, which means those horses are more rested than those coming out of the 1 ¼-mile race at Churchill Downs. Another trend is the non-winning Derby horses skipping the Preakness and coming back for the Belmont, which again gives those horses the advantage of rest. And then there are always some new shooters who show up for the Belmont, which is the most grueling race of the three going 1 ½ miles. Finally, horses of this era simply don’t appear to be as durable as those in the past, so it’s certainly more difficult for a horse to run and win three taxing races in a span of just five weeks at three different racetracks.

The chances of a Triple Crown winner this year also took a hit when Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach was scratched before the race. That left a solid field of 3-year-olds lining up for the Run for the Roses, but it’s hard to pick a standout among the group. Whoever wins will surely get some chatter about moving on to Baltimore for the Preakness with a chance to become the third Triple Crown winner in recent memory, but the odds are against it. And that’s what makes the Triple Crown so special and so exciting to watch.

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