Every spring, Americans get ready to watch the excitement of the Triple Crown -- three horse races consisting of the Kentucky Derby, Baltimore's own Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. Fancy hats are worn, cocktails are made, and potential new Triple Crown winners compete for the ultimate prize. But here are a few facts you might not have known about this series of races!
1. Only one jockey has one more than one Triple Crown
Eddie Arcaro was no stranger to winning the races of the Triple Crown! He took home five Kentucky Derby wins and six each of the other two races. He also rode two Triple Crown winners: Whirlaway in 1941 and Citation in 1948.
2. The famous Secretariat still holds the record for each race
No horse has taken away the record that this rock star holds in all three races! In fact, Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes back in 1973 by 31 lengths. A few horses have come close (Secretariat is no longer the only horse to have run the Kentucky Derby in under 2 minutes), but no one has ever exceeded him.
3. The winners of each race receive different flowers
We here in Maryland know that the Preakness winners get to wear a garland of Black Eyed Susans. But what about the other winners? Kentucky Derby winners get to sport red roses, while the Belmont Stakes winners are adorned in white carnations.
4. A father and son horse have won Triple Crowns
One winner has sired another -- Gallant Fox not only took home all three wins back in 1930, but also was the father of a winner several years later, Omaha. The younger horse brought home the title of Triple Crown winner in 1935.
5. The Preakness Stakes is run over the shortest distance out of the three races
The Belmont is the longest distance, at about 1.5 miles, while the Kentucky Derby is about 1.25. The Preakness is just shorter than that, stretching just 1 and 3/16 of a mile.
6. Naming a racehorse is no easy feat
Ever wondered why there are so many wacky racehorse names? Well, the rules that govern how a horse can be named are pretty strict. Your horse's name can't include any vulgar language, numbers (though numbers can be written out -- 70 is out, but Seventy is fine), or 'obvious commercial references'. You also can't use famous retired names, so no Secretariat or Seabiscuits allowed.