How Much Are Triple Crown Winners Worth?
Horse racing won’t have a Triple Crown winner in 2022, because Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike didn’t enter the Preakness.
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The surprise Derby winner will enter the gate for the Belmont, but winning two out of three Triple Crown races won’t carry the same impact.
It pays to win all three and join this very exclusive club, as this list will show. Twelve of the 13 Triple Crown winners (the first Triple Crown winner, Sir Barton in 1919, didn’t have career earnings listed in Equibase) have more than $3 million in career earnings, adjusted for 2022 dollars, and one horse has brought in more than $13 million.
1930: Gallant Fox
- Career earnings: $328,165 ($5,582,766 in 2022 dollars)
When Gallant Fox won the Belmont Stakes, the feat wasn’t officially called “The Triple Crown,” although The New York Times did refer to the achievement using that term.
- Career earnings: $154,075 ($3,209,940 in 2022 dollars)
Omaha won the Triple Crown with relative ease, with his closest margin of victory being 1 1/2 lengths in the Belmont Stakes, but the horse won only nine of 22 races in his career.
*1935 The Royal Hunt Cup At Ascot Racecourse. Picture for illustrated purposes only.
1937: War Admiral
- Career earnings: $273,240 ($5,455,388 in 2022 dollars)
War Admiral won the 1937 Triple Crown and won 21 of 26 starts in his career, but he might be best known these days for losing to Seabiscuit in “The Match Race of the Century” in 1938.
*Pictured 1937 View Of The Racecourse From Trundle Hill. Picture for illustrated purposes only.
- Career earnings: $561,161 ($11,203,891 in 2022 dollars)
After winning the Triple Crown, Whirlaway stopped racing after the attack on Pearl Harbor halted the Santa Anita 1941-42 season. He went on to have a successful year as a 4-year-old before retiring to a lucrative career in breeding.
1943: Count Fleet
- Career earnings: $250,300 ($4,112,129 in 2022 dollars)
Count Fleet dominated his 3-year-old season despite suffering an injury in the Wood Memorial, then went on to a successful breeding career. He sired a Kentucky Derby winner (Count Turf) and two Belmont Stakes champs (Counterpoint and One Count). Count Fleet passed away at 33 years old, making him the longest-lived Derby winner ever.
- Career earnings: $675,470 ($10,497,315 in 2022 dollars)
Assault’s racing career ended after his 4-year-old year, and the horse never earned stud feeds because he was determined to be sterile.
*Picture The Derby 1946. The Winner ‘airborne’ Being Led In. Picture for illustrated purposes only.
- Career earnings: $1,085,760 ($13,061,102 in 2022 dollars)
Citation, the last horse to win the Triple Crown before a 25-year gap, has the highest adjusted career earnings on this list. He also was the first horse to crack the $1 million mark in career earnings.
- Career earnings: $1,316,808 ($8,623,863 in 2022 dollars)
It’s surprising that Secretariat’s earnings in 2022 dollars aren’t the highest on this list, because he’s generally considered the greatest racehorse in history. He owns the fastest times in all three Triple Crown races.
1977: Seattle Slew
- Career earnings: $1,208,726 ($5,763,077 in 2022 dollars)
Seattle Slew is one of only two horses to win the Triple Crown while never having lost a race.
- Career earnings: $2,393,818 ($10,670,267 in 2022 dollars)
Affirmed sold for $14.4 million in 1979, which would be worth more than $46 million in today’s dollars. Affirmed famously outdueled Alydar in all three Triple Crown races, where Alydar finished second in all three.
*Picture for illustrative purposes only.
2015: American Pharoah
- Career earnings: $8,650,300 ($10,458,131 in 2022 dollars)
American Pharoah became the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 37 years, bringing an even brighter spotlight to superstar trainer Bob Baffert.
- Career earnings: $3,798,000 ($4,340,192 in 2022 dollars)
The most recent horse to win the Triple Crown, Justify cashed in with a record $75 million breeding deal (up from $60 million before he won the Belmont Stakes). Not bad for a horse originally purchased for just $500,000.
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Methodology: For this piece, GOBankingRates used KentuckyDerby.com to find the following for each Triple Crown winner: (1) horse name; (2) jockey name; (3) trainer name; (4) owner(s) name. Then GOBankingRates used Equibase to find each Triple Crown winner’s (5) career earnings and (6) career earnings adjusted for inflation to 2022 dollars using the US Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI inflation calculator. All data was collected and is up to date as of May 31, 2022.