Most horses that run (and win) in the triple-crown races – Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes – are colts. Colts are male horses under the age of four. Past four, male (adult) horses are called “stallions” or just plain old “horses.” All 11 triple-crown winners have been colts.
Fillies are female horses usually under the age of four, but for the sake of horse racing, that limit is pushed up a year to five. Adult female horses are called “mares.”
Compared to the number of colts, very few fillies have raced in the Derby or the two Stakes, and even fewer have won. The number of filly entrants for each are noted below along with the winners.
The last filly to win the Kentucky Derby was almost 30 years ago – Winning Colors in 1988. She may be the last one ever to win the Run for the Roses, thanks to the current qualification rules. This seems unfair and doesn’t make much sense, either. If fillies have qualified and won in the past, it is proven that they can compete with the colts and so should be allowed to continue to compete.
So, why? “Why do fillies appear so rarely in the U.S. Triple Crown races?” asked Andrew Beyer of the Washington Post. Two reasons: the difference in the rate of biological development between the sexes and, as is often the case with just about everything in pro sports, money. Beyer breaks down everything you need to know in “Where Are the Fillies?“
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KENTUCKY DERBY (39 Fillies Have Raced, 3 Winners)
|1.||Winning Colors||1988||D. Wayne Lukas||Gary Stevens||2:02.20|
|2.||Genuine Risk||1980||LeRoy Jolley||Jacinto Vasquez||2:02.00|
|3.||Regret||1915||James G. Rowe, Sr.||Joe Notter||2:05.40|
PREAKNESS STAKES (53 Fillies Have Raced, 5 Winners)
|1.||Rachel Alexandra||2009||Steve Asmussen||Calvin Borel||1:55.08|
|2.||Nellie Morse||1924||Albert B. Gordon||John Merimee||1:57.20|
|3.||Rhine Maiden||1915||Frank Devers||Douglas Hoffman||1:58.00|
|4.||Whimsical||1906||Tim J. Gaynor||Walter Miller||1:45.00|
|5.||Flocarline||1903||H.C. Riddle||William Gannon||1:44.80|
BELMONT STAKES (22 Fillies Have Raced, 3 Winners)
|1.||Rags to Riches||2007||Todd Pletcher||John Velazquez||2:28.74|
|2.||Tanya||1905||John W. Rogers||Gene Hildebrand||2:08.00|
|3.||Ruthless||1867||A. Jack Minor||Gilbert Patrick||3:05.00|
The “Triple Crown” wasn’t officially recognized as such until 1930, off the fingers of “Daily Racing Form writer Charles Hatton.”
But we can still go back through the archives and see which horses won all three races – Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes – as far back as 1875, when all three were first in simultaneous existence, though not really connected.
Almost twice as many times – 20 – a thoroughbred has won the first two legs of the Crown – only to drop the Belmont.
So, every few years or so (or even three years in a row 1997-1999), the general public, horse-racing aficionados and blue bloods get all up in a lather waiting to see if THIS is the year we’ll have another triple crown winner.
Which group will I’ll Have Another join?
We’ll find out on Saturday, June 9th, at the Belmont Stakes.
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Animal Kingdom will not be the first horse in 33 years to win the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, as Shackleford went on to win the 2011 Preakness Stakes with a time of 1:56.27. Astrology came in third. For a list of all the results and payouts and the full story, click here.
Affimed, in 1978, was the last triple crown winner.
A few weeks back, Sports List of the Day looked at the top 10 winning times in Kentucky Derby history. Today, take a look at the Preakness’ top 10 winning times.
The Preakness Stakes began in 1873, two years before the Kentucky Derby, but a length of 1 and 3/16 mile was formalized in 1925.
Top 10 Preakness Stakes Winning Times (Since 1925)