Triple Crown Betting Guide

Racing preview, odds and best racing sites

Anyone who even so much as dabbles in horse racing knows about the Triple Crown. As the most famous set of horse races in America, it could even be said that most people – including those who don’t even know much about racing – have thought about laying down a wager on this horse racing triple-header. However, just like every other series that exists in the horse racing world, the Triple Crown goes deeper than you think, and what you hear about it is just the tip of the iceberg.

The trick to the Triple Crown is a mix of the three distances on three different tracks in the short time span of just five weeks. The winner of the Triple Crown must win all three races, starting with the Kentucky Derby, then the Preakness Stakes not too long after, and finishing with the Belmont Stakes. This may not seem too difficult to those unfamiliar with horse racing, but it is in fact such a grueling task that out of its full 143-year history, only 13 horses hold the title of Triple Crown winner.

As a result, there tends to be long droughts between actual winners, filled with years of almost rans and last-second misses. American Pharaoh, for example, won the Crown in 2015, and was the first to do so since 1978’s winner, Affirmed. The Triple Crown is so elusive that it’s every jockey’s dream, but it’s not an easy win, that’s for sure.

Those who can say they are a Triple Crown winner are immediate recipients of well-earned respect from both professionals and newcomers to the field of racing. With the Triple Crown only a few months away, let’s take a look at some of the nitty-gritty, interesting details of the famous American series, and dig in deep for the Triple Crown’s history and participants. 2020 is surely going to be a race to remember!

Best betting sites for the Triple Crown

For centuries, the traditional way of betting on horses in a race has been strictly in-person. This involves standing at the counter to hand your betting slip over to the teller, hoping that you could later return to collect a tidy sum of money in winnings. Thanks to the advent and popularity of the internet, however, you don’t even need to travel for the races of the Triple Crown anymore – you can do all of your betting from the comfort and security of your own home. Major sports betting sites allow you to stream the races and place your bets, in addition to giving you important information about the horses you’re betting on.

Here, we have a fantastic list of the different places you can both watch the biggest races in the sport and make those winning bets. Even better, the Triple Crown isn’t the only races these sites focus on – you can bet on races all over the world, every day of the year. These user-friendly and helpful betting sites are perfect for both experienced and novice bettors, as all can sign up and get caught up in the thrill, with welcome bonuses surely just being the cherry on top.

How to bet on the Triple Crown

As one of the biggest series in global horse racing, the Triple Crown brings in a large audience, the majority of whom want to bet on which horse will take the winner’s spot in each of the three exhilarating races. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re bringing home some fast cash from the upcoming Triple Crown races.

Online betting

The good news is that betting on horse races and series like the Triple Crown is totally legal in Canada, the UK, and most of the United States. This is generally true when it comes to online betting as well, though there are a few different laws in place here and there. Though online betting may seem sparkling new to a lot of people, it’s actually just an easier, more convenient method of the exact same betting punters have been doing in person for centuries, even millennia.

Now, thanks to online sites dedicated to horse racing, you can bet on races all over the world – including the Triple Crown – from your own couch, or even your smartphone. The betting choice is huge, so remember to be selective and careful about where you’re choosing to place your bets. This is your money, after all. Also make sure to keep an eye on the odds, as they can change just as quickly as the jockeys.

Betting at a teller

While online betting may be the most convenient and favored method for some, especially when it comes to the Triple Crown, there is some appeal to the excitement of a track on race day. If you’re the kind of punter who likes to be on the front lines of the action, betting at the racetrack may be the right way for you. Sometimes, when those Triple Crown races are so close to a winner, the hassle of travel and crowds can be worth it, if it means possibly seeing the 14th Triple Crown winner with your own two eyes. Especially if you have placed a winning bet.

There are a lot of people out there who will be visiting the track, and more importantly the teller, for the first time. Here’s a quick guide to making sure that you can place your bet and look like you know exactly what you’re doing. There’s a specific order in which you need to place your bet. Remember, it goes race track race number, amount of bet, kind of wager and horse’s program number – and that’s it. So, an example of a confident and competent bet would be something like “Belmont Stakes, race one, $4 to win on #4.”

After you’ve done that, you’ll be handed a ticket. It’s critical that you hold onto that ticket and keep it in a safe place, because in the event that you should win, your prize will need to be claimed in person with the ticket.

Off-track betting

If going to the racetrack isn’t feasible for you, but you still like the idea of in-person betting rather than online, the atmosphere of betting on a horse race and cheering with fellow bettors can still be achieved at various off-track betting locations. These facilities are very similar to racetrack betting, just minus the racetrack, and there’s a significant rush that comes with the risk and reward here, too. One example that a lot of people are familiar with is at a casino in places such as Las Vegas, where you can bet at a teller using the same setup as you would at a racetrack.

No matter where you decide to bet, whether that’s the physical experience of betting on the track or off, or the online experience, we’re here to offer you all the information that you could possibly need to place informed bets and take home some big money winnings.

Is it legal to bet on the Triple Crown?

Absolutely! It is completely and totally legal in the United States to bet on horse races, as well as in Canada and in the United Kingdom. Thanks to the 1978 Interstate Horse Racing Act, horse betting is completely legal at the federal level. Though revisions were made in 2006, horse racing and the industry was largely left alone, as the law now left it up to the individual states to legislate betting on horse races. Today, in 2020, there are 41 states total that allow people to wager on horse races in some fashion, with differing restrictions on access and age. Some states are more relaxed, and the rules around horse racing are growing more and more accessible all the time.

If you live in a state that has legalized online wagering on horse races, that’s awesome, You’re all set. However, if you live in a state that doesn’t allow legal online betting for racing, remember that it’s also illegal to bet offshore. Sorry guys, but you’ll have to travel out of state if you want to get a taste of the Triple Crown betting action.

Types of Triple Crown bets

When it comes to pretty much every horse race, there are only two types of wagers at hand to punters, which are “traditional” wagers or “exotic” wagers. Traditional wagers are the ones that everyone with even a passing interest in horse racing are familiar with – win, place, and show. Win is a bet placed upon a horse that you think will finish first, while Show pays out if your chosen horse takes first or second place. Place is the lowest payout of the three, and you can collect winnings if your horse places anywhere from third place and up. Again, we are pretty sure that even non-bettors and those not to fond of a flutter will be aware of these wagers.

Exotic wagers involve betting on the exact place that a specific horse will win. Exacta bets are bets on the first two horses in the right order. Trifecta bets are the first three. Superfecta is four, and super high five is five horses, all contingent on getting your chosen horses in the correct order of places. These bets require strict standards, so the odds are significantly higher than traditional wagers. However, if you should win one of these exotic wagers, you’re in for a much better payout – sometimes even a life-changing amount. For example, superfecta wins can mean a multiplier of 50,000 times the wager – that’s newspaper headline winnings.

Yes, there is the added risk, but make no mistake about it, if you want to walk away from the Triple Crown with four, five, six, or even seven figures in your back pocket, you need to be placing an exotica bet.

Triple Crown odds

As the biggest race series on American soil, the Triple Crown is the most intense set of horse races in arguably the whole world. Looking at each race individually, there are years where the winner may be a close thing, years where there may not be a contested winner, years where you see an unexpected underdog take the lead, or years where a favorite claims the title just as people expected.

No matter what happens in the races, winning all three to take home the Triple Crown is an absolute long shot even at the best of times. One thing is for sure, you can expect a lot of excitement to keep you on the edge of your seat. Here’s a look at the odds for the upcoming Triple Crown, as well as the horses and jockeys who could very well take home the most elusive of all horse racing titles.

Past winners of the Triple Crown

As mentioned, 2015 saw the first winner of the Triple Crown in 37 years with American Pharoah, the previous winner taking home the Crown in 1978 with Affirmed. Last year’s Kentucky Derby saw a winner and a hopeful contender in Nyquist, but unfortunately, although Nyquist was marked as a favorite for Preakness, the horse finished third and was later pulled out of the Belmont Stakes after falling ill. For Nyquist and the team behind him, it was a case of what might have been. You can see all the past Triple Crown winners below:

The Road to the Triple Crown

Let’s make this clear, if anybody wants to win the Triple Crown, they are going to have to make some huge sacrifices. Across three races the action is grueling, putting even the most driven of horses and jockeys to the test. The road to the Triple Crown embodies three races, each of which presents a different challenge to the runner and riders.

Kentucky Derby

In its starting year of 1875, the Kentucky Derby race measured a distance of 1 ½ miles, or 2400 meters. This was shortened 1896, and remains at 1 ¼ miles today. Though it is not the oldest of the Triple Crown races, it is the one that has been run continuously since its inauguration, meaning that it is the longest-continuous race of the series. Since 1975, the field has been limited to 20 total horses – colts and geldings race carrying 126 pounds or 57 kg, while fillies carry 121 pounds or 55 kg.

Preakness Stakes

Inaugurated in 1873, the Preakness Stakes has been continuous since 1894 and boasts the shortest distance of the three Triple Crown races. Pimlico has been the favorite site of the Preakness Stakes, as the home of the race from 1873 to 1889, and later from 1908 on to the current day. From 1891 to 1893, the Preakness Stakes was not run, so even though it is technically older than the Kentucky Derby, the Derby has been running longer. Weight requirements remain the same as the Derby, but the Preakness Stakes field allows only 14 horses.

Belmont Stakes

The final race of the Triple Crown series as we know it, the Belmont Stakes got its start in 1867 and claims the title of the oldest of the three races (though the Kentucky Derby has technically been run longer). Due to legislation against gambling in New York during 1911 and 1912, the Belmont Stakes did not take place those years. Up until 1905, the race bounced from track to track in New York, before finally settling at Belmont Park, where it is still run to this very day. Carry weight is the same as the previous races, but the Belmont Stakes is the longest in the series, with a difficult track of 1 ½ miles. The field at this race has a limit of 16 horses.

It all sounds so easy on paper, three races stand between any horse and Triple Crown glory, but the reality is much harsher. Conquering the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes takes more than what most horses and jockeys have in the tank. Only a handful of horses have been able to seal the deal and win all three, but now you know a little bit more about the three races, maybe you can spot the next winner before anyone else.

How to watch the Triple Crown on TV or via online stream

The Triple Crown draws an audience that numbers in the millions from all over the globe. The best channel to find the races on is NBC Sports, as they provide the most extensive coverage due to catering to American audiences. If you’re going to be watching the races on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet, you can look into the NBC Sports Live app. This means that even if you’re on the go, you can catch the Triple Crown as long as you’ve got an internet connection or cell service. Outside of the US, those in the UK and Australia specifically, it’s likely that you’ll need to watch the Triple Crown races through an online streaming service such as RacingTV.

If you’re one who likes to dig into the details, you may just be interested in the workouts of the Kentucky Derby Contenders for the thoroughbreds that qualify. In the months leading up to the Kentucky Derby, which is the first of the Triple Crown races, you can find these workouts broadcasted daily on the official Facebook and Twitter accounts of the Kentucky Derby, or even through re-broadcasts. You won’t be able to bet on these events, but they do give you an edge when it comes to betting on horses during the actual races of the Triple Crown. Think of these races as a bit of Triple Crown research prior to the big races. Could it help you spot a future winner? Only time will tell.

The History of the Triple Crown

Though the popularity of horse racing has declined in the 21st century, the Triple Crown is an achievement for those in the industry of horse racing, and an elusive one at that – although it may not be considered prestigious in the whole of sporting events these days. It’s still something horse trainers and jockeys aspire to, however, as only 13 horses have achieved the Triple Crown win since the first year that all three races were run in 1875. . While it may have lost a bit of its shine these days, especially in the era of big money horse races in places like Dubai and the UK, the Triple Crown is still a huge crowd pleaser.

Origin of the Triple Crown

After the Civil War in America, there was an effort to cluster the races of the Triple Crown after the fashion of the British Triple Crown. The founder of Churchill Downs, Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., tried in 1875 to gather attention to his idea of a Triple Crown centered around the Kentucky Derby, which historically takes place at Churchill Downs every year. As the 20th century dawned, other organizers of races attempted to promote three races that took place in New York, but ultimately both of these efforts failed. This was largely due to the provincialism of the racing attitude at the time – for example, there was a divide between the socialites who raced in the Eastern states and the horse racing world of the Western states.

Socialites controlled the horse racing industry, and wouldn’t even allow their horses to run at tracks as far west as Churchill Downs. Overall, the obstinance of those who raced, coupled with the general idea that the Kentucky Derby took place too early in the year, did a lot of damage to the Triple Crown’s reputation. In fact, it was the idea that the Kentucky Derby actually happened before three-year-old thoroughbreds completely matured that cost the famous Man o’ War the chance at a Triple Crown, when owner Samuel Riddle decided to keep him out of the 1920 Kentucky Derby.

Term triple crown popularized

It is largely due to Charles Hatton’s writing that popularized the very idea of the American Triple Crown. Due to his frequent use of the phrase “triple crown” in a column for the Daily Racing Form, the term caught on in the 1930s as a reference to the trio of races. It was this popularity that led to trainers and owners beginning to focus on the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes, and by the 1940s, “triple crown” was a common phrase for the series used in the newspapers of the time.

It became formal and officially known as the Triple Crown series in December of 1950, during an annual awards dinner in New York by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations. The first horse to win all three races back in 1919, Sir Barton, was awarded the Triple Crown title retroactively at this same dinner. The title would subsequently be given to any winners following the 1950 recognition.

Notable Triple Crown winners

Beginning with Gallant Fox’s win of the Triple Crown in 1930 and spanning the 18 years until Citation took the title in 1948, every two and a half years saw an average of one Triple Crown winner. However, it wasn’t until 1973 that Secretariat would win the title again, making him the 9th horse to earn it after a wait of 25 years and setting speed records for all three of the races (though his Preakness Stakes record didn’t become official until many years later). Seattle Slew claimed a victory in 1977, and the next year saw Affirmed win in 1978. However, it wasn’t until 37 years later that another winner would claim the crown, with American Pharaoh galloping to victory in 2015. Only three years later, in 2018, the Triple Crown saw its 13th winner in Justify.

The history of the Triple Crown speaks volumes, as the event serves up horse racing competition at its finest. Only a handful of horses can stake claim to the title, with huge gaps in between winners. Could we see another winner in 2020? Looking at the field, we certainly think that there could be another history maker at the starting gate.

Triple Crown FAQ

What races make up the Triple Crown in American horse racing?

The three races of the Triple Crown start with the Kentucky Derby, followed by the Preakness Stakes, and end with the Belmont Stakes.

When do the Triple Crown races take place?

The Kentucky Derby starts the series on the first Saturday of May, which is what determines the date of the other races. The Preakness Stakes is held on the third Saturday of May, while the Belmont Stakes takes place 3 weeks after Preakness in June.

What is the longest of the Triple Crown races?

The final race in the series is the longest, with the Belmont Stakes demanding a distance of 1.5 miles. The Kentucky Derby is 10 furlongs or 1.25 miles, while the Preakness is the shortest at 1 3/16 miles (or 9.5 furlongs). Think of the Triple Crown races as a sprint, jog, and marathon – with the winning horse needing to nail all three.

How many horses run in the Triple Crown races?

The Triple Crown field is markedly small, allowing only between twelve and twenty horses to compete in the three races, (Kentucky Derby hosts 20 horses, Belmont Stakes hosts 12 horses, and Preakness Stakes hosts 13 horses), this does exclude withdrawals and dropouts

How much does the winner of the Triple Crown get?

Winning the Triple Crown doesn’t come with a specific monetary prize, as it is a series. However, Triple Crown winners take home the top prizes in each race, while winners of only the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, or the Belmont Stakes take home only that race’s prize money. If a horse should win the whole Triple Crown – all three races – it can mean a prize that numbers in the millions of dollars.

How many fillies have won the Triple Crown?

There are no fillies that have ever won the Triple Crown; however, fillies have won individual races. The first Triple Crown race that took place was the 1867 Belmont, which was won by Ruthless, a filly, and later followed by two others in all the years of the Belmont Stakes – there are only 22 total fillies that have competed in the Belmont race. Three have won at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Derby. The Preakness Stakes has five filly winners, with the most recent filly winning in 2009, Rachel Alexandra.

What is the fastest horse to win the Triple Crown?

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the fastest horse is the legendary Secretariat, the winner of the 1973 Triple Crown. This is due to the fact that Secretariat held the fastest combined time for all three of the races involved, and still holds the record for all the races individually.

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