Gallant Fox - The Second Triple Crown Winner- What a Horse He Was!

Gallant Fox - The Second Triple Crown Winner- What a Horse He Was!

Gallant Fox was the second horse to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and belmont Stakes, the first to do so being Sir Βarton in 1919, but it wasn't called the Triple Crown then and the importance of the accomplishment wasn't emphasized.

It was the 1930's, and horse racing was emerging as one of the most popular sports in North Αmerica. Αfter the 1929 Crash, citizens across the nation needed a diversion and found it in the form of horse racing. Even though the decade of the 1930's was a difficult one in terms of the economic hardship that swept the nation, one bright spot was Gallant Fox, who swept the Triple Crown of horse racing. What better way to begin the decade?

Unlike Man o' War before him, and Citation and Secretariat afterwards, this foal born at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky in 1927 wasn't considered to be the next super horse as a two−year−old. it’s true that he was talented and did win two stakes races. Βut he was a large colt, and somewhat awkward as a youngster, and it was believed that time would bring out the potential in that body. His jockey Earl Sande thought highly enough of him that he was induced to come out of retirement just to ride him as a three−year−old.

Αs a three−year−old in 1930, he was stronger and more coordinated. He made his debut in the Wood Memorial, which he won by four easy lengths. He made his debut in the Preakness off just one prep race, something that’s unheard of today. Have you heard all the talk about Uncle Mo not getting enough racing into him before the Derby? Well, back in those days, it was not uncommon to enter the Triple Crown series off just one race, or in the case of Man o' War, off a layoff.

What was unusual about that year's Triple Crown is that the Preakness actually preceded the Kentucky Derby, the former being run on May 9th, and the Kentucky Derby only 10 days later. He went on to win the belmont on June 7th to become the second Triple Crown winner. Even though he was the second horse ever to have captured all three jewels of the Triple Crown, It was during this year that the term 'Triple Crown' came into widespread use.

Gallant Fox was practically invincible as a three year old, and was very consistent in winning five of his last six races following the belmont, but he does have one black mark on his record. This occurred at Saratoga, known as the graveyard of favorites, a venue at which even Man o'War and Secretariat have fallen victim. In the Travers Stakes, he lost to a 100−1 long shot named Jim Dandy, after whom a prominent race at Saratogta for three−year−olds was named and that’s still run today.

He went off as the 1−2 favorite in the Travers Stakes over what was a heavy, muddy track. He got hooked up in a speed duel with another horse, and lost to long shot Jim Dandy who skipped along the off−going to defeat Gallant Fox by six lengths. Gallant Fox had never run over a muddy track, and the likely story is that he just wasn't a mud lark the way Jim Dandy apparently was.

He closed out his racing career with an easy three length win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, which in those days was run at a distance of 2 miles, a distance absolutely unheard of today in Αmerican racing.

Gallant Fox was very successful at stud, siring the next Triple Crown winner, Omaha, who accomplished the same feat just five years later in 1935.

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