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What Awesome Prizes Do Horses Get for Winning the Triple Crown?

I'll Have Another
Rob Carr, Getty Images

With a win at Belmont Park on Saturday, I’ll Have Another would have become the 12th horse to capture horse racing’s Triple Crown by virtue of consecutive victories in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Unfortunately, the horse has been scratched with a leg injury.

So, besides famously becoming the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win all three races, what would’ve I’ll Have Another gotten for winning the Triple Crown?


By winning the Belmont, I’ll Have Another would’ve received a 62 percent share of the $1 million purse  — or $620,000 — awarded by the Belmont Stakes. The second-place horse receives 20 percent, while 11 percent is given to the third-place horse. Obviously, I’ll Have Another has already won the greatest shares of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes purses.


Since only 11 horses have managed to win the Triple Crown, there can be no question that, regardless of financial windfall, a Triple Crown winner receives lasting fame for its accomplishment. In this modern age of instant marketing and total merchandising, it is easy to imagine that the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years would also have many possible sponsorship and branding opportunities afforded to it.


If I’ll Have Another had won on Saturday, it would’ve received the Belmont Stakes trophy — a Tiffany-made silver bowl with a cover — and a carnation blanket. Triple Crown winners are also awarded a special Triple Crown Trophy. Commissioned by the Thoroughbred Racing Association and created by jeweler Cartier, the Triple Crown Trophy is a three-sided vase with each side equating to one of the series races.


When the racing career of a Triple Crown winner, or any successful race horse, has ended, the horse is often further syndicated, meaning additional shares of ownership in the horse are offered. People buy those shares because when the horse is put out to stud, it can be quite lucrative for its ownership. For instance, Affirmed sired over 80 stakes winners who earned more than $44 million.

What Horses Don’t Win

From 1986-1995, Chrysler Motors sponsored a Triple Crown bonus that would have paid $5 million to a Triple Crown-winning horse. The sponsorship was then picked up by Visa USA from 1996-2005. Since no horse won the Triple Crown during those years, a $1 million bonus was awarded to the horse who accumulated the most points by virtue of its finishes in the three-race series.  Both the $5 million bonus and the $1 million bonus are no longer offered.

Even without the million-dollar bonuses, I’ll Have Another would’ve scored widespread notoriety, a sizable purse and handsome trophies if he had managed to snag the Triple Crown.

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