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Triple Crown Horse Races Span Thoroughbred World

Sun., June 1, 1997

There are other Triple Crowns in thoroughbred racing. England’s three-race series for 3-year-olds was first swept by West Australian in 1853, and they’ve been running a Triple Crown in Canada since 1959.

The English Triple Crown has been swept by 15 horses, but it’s actually tougher to win than the U.S. version. When Nijinsky II, Canadian-bred and American-owned, won the English Triple Crown in 1970, he was the first horse to win the three races since the Aga Khan’s Bahram pulled off the feat in 1935.

There hasn’t been another Triple Crown champion in England since Nijinsky II, and since 1970, only one horse - Nashwan in 1989 - has won the first two races in the series, the 1-mile Two Thousand Guineas and the 1-1/2-mile Epsom Derby. Nashwan didn’t run in the series finale, the St. Leger Stakes, which is about 1-3/4 miles.

The English Triple Crown is run over three grass courses, starting in early May and not winding up until early September.

In Ontario, Canada, the Triple Crown spans 1-1/2 months this year, starting on June 29 with the 1-1/4-mile Queen’s Plate at Woodbine near Toronto. The other races are the 1-1/2-mile Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie in Rexdale, Ont., on July 27 and the 1-1/2-mile Breeders’ Stakes back at Woodbine on Aug. 17.

Unlike the U.S. and English Triple Crowns, the Canadian races are run over different surfaces, the Queen’s Plate on dirt and the two others on grass.

New Providence swept the Canadian Triple Crown in 1959, the first year it was held, and there have been five champions since, the most recent Peteski in 1993.

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