Count Fleet | Horse Profile

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Count Fleet

In 1942 Count Fleet would be crowned Horse of the Year following his Triple Crown run. During this Triple Crown run, Count Fleet ran and won the Withers Stakes that sat between the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.

Quick Career Stats for Count Fleet

  • Starts: 21
  • Wins: 16
  • Places: 4
  • Shows: 1
  • Earnings: $250,300
Count Fleet Pedigree
*Sunreigh (1919)
Reigh Count (1925)
*Contessina (1909)
Count Fleet (1940)
Haste (1923)
Quickly (1930)
Stephanie (1925)

How did Count Fleet win the Triple Crown?

  • The Kentucky Derby
    • Favored at 2-5, the co-shortest price in Derby history, Count Fleet left no doubt about his superiority on the first Saturday in May. Like Sir Barton and War Admiral before him, Count Fleet was quick into stride and led from start to finish, putting up fractions of :23 1/5, :46 3/5, and 1:12 3/5 before crossing the finish line clear by three lengths in 2:03.
  • The Preakness Stakes
    • There was never a moment of drama during Count Fleet’s Preakness triumph. Facing just three rivals, the 15-100 favorite opened up a four-length lead through splits of :23 3/5, :47 2/5, and 1:11 4/5 and only widened his advantage from there. Though never asked for his best run, Count Fleet pulled away to dominate by eight lengths over good footing, stopping the timer in 1:57 2/5.
  • The Belmont Stakes
    • In a display of sheer dominance exceeded only by Secretariat, Count Fleet annihilated two rivals in the 75th Belmont Stakes, seizing command at the start and widening at every call through quick fractions of :23 3/5, :48, 1:12 3/5, and 1:37 4/5. Ultimately, the overwhelming 1-20 betting choice won by 25 lengths in the record time of 2:28 1/5.

Who was Count Fleet?

Born in 1940, Count Fleet became the sixth American Triple Crown champion in 1943. He was bred by owner Mrs. Fannie Hertz, the wife of rental car company owner John Hertz, and trained by Don Cameron. Count Fleet would eventually be inducted in to the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame in 1961.

Beginning his racing career as a juvenile, Count Fleet won his third start and he dominated his opponents in his last three starts, winning the 1942 Champagne Stakes, Pimlico Futurity, and Walden Stakes – the latter by 30 lengths. Count Fleet ended his 2-year-old season with a record of 10 wins from 15 races, and his Experimental Handicap assessment of 132 pounds remains a record.

Count Fleet cemented his place as an all-time great during his three-year-old-campaign where he would win the 1943 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes – the latter by a then-record 25 lengths – to earn a Triple Crown sweep. He also won the Wood Memorial Stakes prior to the Derby and the Withers Stakes between the Preakness and Belmont. He finished the season undefeated in six races.

Overall, Count Fleet raced 21 times with a record of 16-4-1 and $250,300 in earnings. He was ultimately retired to stud following an injury.

As a sire, Count Fleet proved to be invaluable to Thoroughbred horse racing and provided almost immediate returns in retirement as many of his progeny went on to become notable champions in their own right.

Count Fleet’s progeny include 1951 Kentucky Derby winner Count Turf, 1951 Belmont Stakes winner Counterpoint, and 1952 Horse of the Year One Count, who also won that year’s Belmont Stakes. Most famously, one of Count Fleet’s daughters gave birth to Kelso, a five-time Horse of the Year.

Obviously Count Fleet isn’t without his own honors. Besides his Hall of Fame induction, Count Fleet was U.S. Champion 2-year-old, U.S. Champion 3-year-old, Horse of the Year in 1943, and the Leading Sire in North America in 1951.

Count Fleet is frequently rated among North America’s all-time top 10 race horses, placing him amongst company such as Man o’War, Secretariat, Kelso, and Citation.

More rare photos of Count Fleet

Count Fleet conformation photo at Stoner Creek. (Keeneland Library Meadors Collection) This image is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in print or electronically without written permission of the Keeneland Library.

Count Fleet with his groom at Stoner Creek. (Keeneland Library Meadors Collection) This image is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in print or electronically without written permission of the Keeneland Library.