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On This Date in Sports June 7, 1941: Whirlaway Runs Away

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Whirlaway, ridden by Eddie Acaro and trained by Ben A. Jones becomes the fifth horse to win the Triple Crown, winning the Belmont Stakes by two and a half lengths over Robert Morris. Whirlaway also won the Travers Stakes, becoming the first horse to win the four most prominent races in the United States. Whirlaway entered the race a heavy favorite and did not disappoint, winning in a time of 2:31 flat. 

Whirlaway was sired by Blenheim, who had won the English Derby, and was named after its mare, Dustwhirl. He was bred at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Trained by Ben A. Jones and ridden by Eddie Arcaro. The horse earned the nickname "Mr. Longtail" due to his thick and bushy tail. This did not prevent Whirlaway from becoming a champion, as he was the best two-year-old in 1940. His trainer often felt that Whirlaway was a quirky horse but that never got in the way on the race track. 

The path to greatness for Whirlaway began at the Kentucky Derby as he set a new track record by finishing the race in 2:01.40. He also set a record by winning by eight lengths over Staretor. After beating King Cole at the Preakness, all eyes were on Whirlaway entering the Belmont Stakes as he sought to join Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), and War Admiral (1937) in the pantheon of legendary Triple Crown winners. 

There were 30,801 fans on hand to watch the race in Elmont, New York, looking to see history in the 73rd running of the Belmont Stakes. As Whirlaway was a heavy favorite, only four horses were entered in the 1941 Belmont Stakes. The chestnut colt would not disappoint, as he ran the mile and a half race in a time of 2:31, beating Robert Morris by two and a half lengths to claim the Triple Crown. 

After winning the Triple Crown, Whirlaway continued to rack up the wins, capturing the Travers Stakes and becoming the first horse to win the four major races in one year. Whirlaway would be named Horse of the Year in 1941 and 1942, as he became one of the most successful horses in the golden era of racing, winning 32 races.