05/23/2012 10:36AM

Triple Crown Winners: Gallant Fox



By 1930, Charles Hatton was making his mark on the face of American racing journalism with his work in the Morning Telegraph and Daily Racing Form. Hatton is credited with the application of England’s “Triple Crown” as a term of honor linking the three major springtime tests for 3-year-olds in Kentucky, Maryland, and New York. Even so, the idea needed some fine-tuning.


That year, the Preakness came first on Friday, May 9, with the Derby on May 17, and the Belmont on June 7. For the first two, starting gates replaced the tape barrier for the first time. Belmont Park, on the other hand, waited until 1931 to switch to the stationary gates.

It mattered little to Gallant Fox. Standing tall as the pride of William Woodward’s Belair Stud, the son of Sir Gallahad III was a gorgeous blood bay with black points, delicate white spats, and a commanding blaze. He was imposing enough for the legendary Earl Sande to come out of a two-year retirement to ride the colt for Woodward and his trainer, Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons.

Gallant Fox got past the Preakness with a three-quarter-length victory over Crack Brigade. The Derby, attended by England’s Lord Derby himself, fell to the Fox by two lengths, and the Belmont went down by three. Hatton had his inspiration to promote the concept of the Triple Crown. And, by the end of the 1930 season, “The Fox of Belair” was as well-known to the American sporting public as Babe Ruth or Bobby Jones.


OWNER: Belair Stud Stable
TRAINER: James Fitzsimmons
JOCKEY: Earl Sande
BREEDER: Belair Stud

Won for the first time in Saratoga’s Flash Stakes in his third lifetime start. After three defeats, he wrapped up his 2-year-old season with a victory in the Junior Champion at Aqueduct. Started off at 3 with a new jockey, the out-of-retirement Earl Sande, and a win in the Wood Memorial, then won the Triple Crown out of the modern-day sequence. At the time the Preakness was run before the Derby. He added victories in the Dwyer and Arlington Classic before suffering his only defeat of the year, to Jim Dandy in the Travers at Saratoga. He finished his season and career by beating older horses in the Saratoga Cup, then winning the Lawrence Realization and the two-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Profiles of Triple Crown winners

Sir Barton (1919) Gallant Fox (1930) Omaha (1935) War Admiral (1937)
Whirlaway (1941) Count Fleet (1943) Assault (1946) Citation (1948)
Secretariat (1973) Seattle Slew (1977) Affirmed (1978) ?