05/23/2012 12:05PM

Triple Crown Winners: Omaha


OMAHA - 1935

It is unreasonable to expect great horses to replace themselves. Gallant Fox, who retired at the end of his Triple Crown season, came tantalizingly close with his very first crop.


Omaha was not as precocious as his sire. Nor was he as good-looking. But he was a powerful colt who got better with age and distance, and by the time the 1935 Kentucky Derby came around on May 4, he was ready to run the race of his young life for the owner-trainer team of Woodward and Fitzsimmons.

He needed to be ready. With 20-year-old Willie Saunders in the saddle, Omaha survived a muddy Churchill Downs track and a logjam on the first turn to win the 18-horse Derby by 1 1/2 lengths. One week later, Omaha was even more impressive in winning the Preakness Stakes by six, after which he tossed in a second-place finish to Rosemont in the Withers Mile in New York.

When they met again in the more demanding Belmont, Rosemont was a distant third while Omaha took home the Triple Crown by 1 1/2 lengths from Firethorn.

And though he never enjoyed the popularity of Gallant Fox, Omaha was clearly the best colt of his generation.

In 1936, Omaha was sent to England. He had an admirable campaign, winning twice and placing in two of Britain’s most prestigious events, the Ascot Gold Cup and Princess of Wales Stakes. As a stallion, however, he was a bust, fathering just seven stakes winners from 206 foals. So ended a budding Triple Crown dynasty.


OWNER: Belair Stud Stable
TRAINER: James Fitzsimmons
JOCKEY: Willie Saunders
BREEDER: William Woodward Sr.

Form the first crop of Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox, he contested the major New York 2-year-old stakes, each time closing late but not getting to the front. After a third in the Wood Memorial at 3, he won the Kentucky Derby, only his third win in 12 starts. In between his Preakness and Belmont victories, he tried the Withers – and ran second. His season concluded with a third in the Brooklyn, and wins in the Dwyer and Arlington Classic. At 4, he was sent to England and became the only Triple Crown winner to race overseas. After wins in an allowance and a two-mile handicap, he suffered two brave, narrow losses in important stakes races, the Ascot Gold Cup and Princess of Wales’s Stakes.

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) ?