Count Fleet: The 6th Triple Crown Winner

Count Fleet was a fast, temperamental, brown colt who cemented his name in the annals of horse racing history by winning the 1943 Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and the Preakness Stakes. Not only did Count Fleet manage to become 6th Triple Crown winner in history but he also remarkably achieved this feat by winning the Belmont Stakes by 25 lengths.

Throughout his racing career, Count Fleet demonstrated pure talent, sheer speed and imposing stamina. While speed was one of his fortes, sprinting was clearly not Count Fleet's cup of tea. Considered to be one of the greatest racing horses of all time, Count Fleet managed to win more than 85% of all the races that he participated in.

By the end of his memorable racing career, Count Fleet had become one of the highest earners in history, with accumulative earnings of $250,300 in just 21 races. Despite his dominance on the racing track, Count Fleet’s outstanding racing career was often threatened by a string of injuries, all resulting from his clumsiness on the racing track.

Count Fleet's Profile

  • Place of birth: Stoner Creek Stud farm, Paris, Kentucky

  • Date of birth: 24th March 1940

  • Age of death: Count Fleet succumbed at the age of 33 years due to an apparent blood clot

  • Sex: Stallion

  • Owner: Fannie Hertz

  • Trainer: CDon Cameron

  • Sire: Reigh Court

  • Dam: Quickly

  • Jockey/s: John Longden

  • Record: 21 16-4-1

  • Career earnings: $250,000

Count Fleet's Achievements

In his first season, Count Fleet showed so much potential, finishing second in just two starts. Despite what many would consider to be a rather remarkable start for an inexperienced horse, it also became quite evident that Count Fleet could also be quite erroneous during critical moments in the race. For instance, during his first stakes race, Count Fleet not only lost too much length on the track but also ran around the turn, which ultimately cost him the race.

All in all, despite his flaws on the racing track, one thing was quite clear from the onset. If Count Fleet managed to keep it together, he could become a force to reckon with. On the other hand, if he continued to make the same gaffes, then his racing career could be over before it began.

In his third stakes race at Aqueduct, Count Fleet finally managed to register his first-ever career win, winning the race by 4 lengths. Despite taking the pole position, Count Fleet still made the same blunders he did during his first race. Count Fleet would then take part in 8 consecutive stakes races, winning 5 of them, finishing second in two and third in one.

After reaching maturity, Count Fleet became an unstoppable racing machine, going on one of the most impressive runs in horse racing history. Count Fleet won 10 consecutive races including the highly-rated Kentucky Derby. Other noteworthy stakes races that he won during his final season include the Champagne Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Wood Memorial and the Walden Stakes.

Notable Remarks

After one of the most outstanding careers, Count Fleet finally retired from racing in 1943. While his racing career was short-lived, Count Fleet still managed to participate in 21 races, winning 16 of them. In 1961, Count Fleet was inducted into the Racing's Hall of Fame.

Apart from being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Count Fleet also earned a spot in the North America All-Time greats, a list that includes Kelso, Citation and the undisputed king of the racing track, Man-o-War. The Blood-Horse magazine ranked Count Fleet an impressive 5th in a list that highlighted the top 100 U.S thoroughbred champions.

While in retirement, Count Fleet became a successful stud, siring 434 foals. Out of the total foals sired, 267 became quite successful on the racing tracks. On 3rd December 1973, Count Fleet succumbed due to complications resulting from old age and an apparent blood clot. According to existing records, Count Fleet had managed to become the longest-living Kentucky Derby Winner.