The Triple Crown is a title awarded to any 3-year-old horse that wins the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in the same year. The title has only been claimed by twelve horses in its history and is one of the most elusive titles in world sport.
Like Royal Ascot and The Grand National in the UK, the event attracts both seasoned horse racing punters, and those who enjoy the occasional wager on the sport’s biggest events.
We’ve compiled a great overview to guide your betting on the next three Triple Crown races.
What Bets Should You Go For?
There’s a reason why the Triple Crown is so highly coveted, and rare. It’s because it’s one of the most difficult accomplishments in sport. This doesn’t mean you can’t win big on one, two or indeed all of the races.
Win, place and show is one of the most popular bets in horse racing, this allows you to come in 1st, 2nd or even 3rd. If you wager across the board and your selection comes 2nd, you collect the winnings for 2nd and 3rd, however if it comes 1st you collect all 3. Because of the difficult nature of the races, this is a good way of giving your bet a bit of freedom, and still potentially scooping a good payout.
Exacta, trifecta and superfecta bets mean you have to predict the top 4 spots in a race in order and the more you get correct, the more you win. While it offers a great payout, this is a very difficult bet to pull off, especially in races where there are no stand-out runners. Luckily you won’t lose if one selection is wrong; you’ll just receive a lesser payout.
Which Bookmakers Should I Use?
When it comes to choosing a bookmaker, there are a lot of things you need to consider, such as available markets, in-play betting and live streaming options.
We’ve chosen the three best horse racing bookies:
Without doubt the best destination for American horse racing punters. With bets on dozens of markets, you won’t find them lacking Triple Crown wagers and what’s more, there will be a wide range of bets to place on each of the three big races.
TVG’s raceday coupon gives a wealth of info, such as the name of the jockey, morning line odds and gate number (highlighted by saddle cloth color). Punters can also easily manage their bets by utilizing Bovada’s race selection, allowing you to view one or more races simultaneously.
While often considered to be in second place behind TVG, this is the perfect bookies for players who simply don’t enjoy the TVG experience. Known for their horse racing markets, many users go out of their way to praise the site’s simple interface too.
The Racebook info section on their website offers helpful insight on upcoming events and also detailed descriptions of bet types, ideal for the betting newbie.
There is also a separate area for Triple Crown-specific betting, meaning you don’t have to search around the site to find the right bet.
When it comes to horse racing, BetAmerica’s range of markets and in-play function offer American punters an exceptional experience. There is also a range of international wagers, for punters who want to take their betting outside of American shores.
With a simple layout, punters can choose between standard horse racing wagers like straight, exacta, trifecta and superfecta.
Why Is The Triple Crown So Elusive?
A lot of horses have come close, and only a handful have succeeded. So why is it so hard to win the Triple Crown? The answer, you might be disappointed to hear is as elusive as the crown itself.
Many commentators say it’s down to the quality of breeding, which has been called into question, as has the emphasis on short length speed rather than endurance, something which is vital in any challenge for the title.
Some breeders suggest that because horse owners now seek a quick profit, horses are raced and bred far quicker, and that bloodlines do not have the racing pedigree that they did in the old days.
Experienced trainers have lamented that horses are less rigorously prepared nowadays, which has a detrimental effect over the course of the Triple Crown challenge. Many horses have won the first two of the three races, but come a cropper in the final one.
Some older trainers have suggested that their younger counterparts focus on short term speed instead of stamina, making the horses “pampered”, to use their terminology. Plus, running three intense races in five weeks is a strain for any three year old horse, no matter how well bred and trained it is.
That being said, big gaps between winners is not uncommon with the Triple Crown; when Secretariat won in 1973, it was the first winner in 25 years, although the 37-year gap before American Pharaoh did represent the longest wait in the title’s history.
Which Horses Could Claim The Crown?
After a bitter disappointment in the 2nd race, 2016 Triple Crown favourite Nyquist was forced out of the Belmont Stakes, shredding any hopes of back-to-back crown winners, following the success of American Pharaoh in 2015.
Nyquist had been 8 for 8 in his career, but an injury and fever slowed him in the Preakness Stakes, and ultimately there was nothing that could be done to keep the dream alive. It was a reminder of just how difficult it is for any horse to win all three races in a calendar year.
With another year until a new hopeful can step forward, who is there to look out for? It’s no easy feat this far away from the 2017 Triple Crown, but punters can keep watching the hopefuls for next year. Monitor the form and success of potential candidates, investigate their heritage and trainers, and of course, keep checking Bet O’Clock for more great racing insight!