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Horse racing has been a passion for many centuries. Many countries have some of the biggest horse races that generate a great deal of excitement for horse racing enthusiasts and revenue for the government. Perhaps the most famous of the horse races are the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing which involves three-year-old Thoroughbred Horses running three races. The horse winning all three races in a single season wins the Triple Crown. Each nation, where thoroughbred racing is popular, will have its own version of the Triple Crown. So you have the English Triple Crown which was the first racing championship of its kind. The other countries then followed suit. The American Triple Crown draws millions of spectators and the Australian Triple Crown has a fan following of its own.

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Very few horses have achieved the incredible feat of winning the Triple Crown Titles. There are just a handful of American Triple Crown Winners in the country’s 90 years of racing history – eleven to be precise. They are Sir Barton in 1919, Gallant Fox in 1930, Omaha in 1935, War Admiral in 1937, Whirlaway in 1941, Count Fleet in 1943, Assault in 1946, Citation in 1948, Secretariat in 1973, Seattle Slew in 1977 and Affirmed in 1978. Today, most horses specialize in limited range of distances and winning the Triple Crown has become extremely rare. Affirmed was the last horse to win the American Triple Crown.

The Secretariat, the 1973 Triple Crown winner is, by far, the most famous thoroughbred that shattered many world records. His record of the fastest Kentucky Derby win is intact to this day. Almost four decades ago, this horse achieved the summit of American Horse Racing against all odds and became a national hero, along with his owner who believed in him. Their inspiring story has been made into a Hollywood film very recently. Indeed, Secretariat was the hero of the tracks – he won sixteen of his twenty one races and is ranked second in the list of the top 100 racehorses of the 20th Century. Secretariat has been conferred many honors for his spectacular achievements. There are streets named after him in California and a stamp has been commissioned in his honor.

The English Triple Crown is also a grueling three race event which again has produced very few winners. Only fifteen horses have won the title, namely West Australian in 1853, Gladiateur in 1865, Lord Lyon in 1866, Ormonde in 1886, Common in 1891, Isinglass in 1893, Galtee More in 1897, Flying Fox in 1899, Diamond Jubilee in 1900, Rock Sand in 1903, Pommern in 1915, Gay Crusader in 1917, Gainsborough in 1918, Bahram in 1935 and Nijinsky II in 1970.

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In the United Kingdom, The Grand National is another famous horse racing event that takes place at Aintree. This horse race attracts racing enthusiasts and casual bettors alike. For many, the Grand National is the once-a-year betting opportunity where they can hope to make some money. The Grand National also has its share of historic racebook wins, some great moments that horse racing fans are unlikely to forget.

In 1967 when Foinavon lined up to run at the Grand National, his owner had no hopes of a win. John Kempton thought that he had a very slim chance with the horse and was on the verge of going to Worcester. However, luck turned the tables for him because of a chaotic incident at the 23rd fence during the race. A rider-less horse, Popham Down had caused a pileup. Foinavon was way behind the leading horses, so much so that his jockey could maneuver around the mess and jump the fence. Seventeen jockeys involved in the pileup remounted their horses and followed, but none of them could catch up with Foinavon who was almost at the finish line. In memory of this historic win, the 23rd fence is named after Foinavon, the most unlikely winner of the Grand National Races.

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Red Rum, a legendary horse won the Grand National for the first time in 1973. But he would not have got the honor, had it not been for another legendary horse, Crisp, tipped to be the favorite who was responsible for Red Rum’s win. Despite carrying a 12 stone weight, Crisp was looking unbeatable until the last four fences. But with his stamina waning during the last stretch, Red Rum could outrun him by three quarters of a length. Red Rum again won the 1974 Grand National but just missed out by finishing second in 1975 and 1976. But in 1977, he cruised along to his third victory at the Nationals. What is noteworthy is that Red Rum suffered from bone disease in his foot, a life-long condition despite which he went on to win the races. .Upon his death, the horse was buried at the winning post at the Aintree Racecourse.

Perhaps Bob Champion’s Grand National win of 1981 can be termed as the most triumphant victory ever. In 1979, Bob Champion was diagnosed with cancer and was told that he had just a few months to live. With a dream of winning the Grand National, Bob underwent months of chemotherapy, recovered, and went on to race at the Grand National and won. Not only that, his horse Aldanati had also recovered from three injuries that year. So both the jockey and the horse had overcome all adversity to win the 1981 Grand National.
In 1993, the Grand National had to contend with animal right protestors who got on to the track. Next, there was a false start when the horses got entangled in the starting tape. There was a second false start with the same problem occurring, but 30 riders out of the scheduled 39 started out. Seven horses completed the race in spite of the officials trying to stop them. The jockeys alleged they mistook the officials for animal right protestors who were trying to stop them. John White riding Esha Ness was the winner, making the second fastest time in Grand National history. However, the 1993 Grand National was declared void, denying them a spectacular victory.

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