Count Fleet

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Count Fleet
Kentucky Derby win, May 1, 1943
Sire Reigh Count
Grandsire Sunreigh
Dam Quickly
Damsire Haste
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1940
Country United States
Color Bay
Breeder Mrs. Fannie Hertz
Owner Mrs. Fannie Hertz. Colors: Yellow, black circle on sleeves, yellow cap
Trainer Don Cameron
Record 21:16-4-1
Earnings $250,300
Major wins

Champagne Stakes (1942)
Pimlico Futurity (1942)
Wood Memorial (1943)

Triple Crown race wins:
Kentucky Derby (1943)
Preakness Stakes (1943)
Belmont Stakes (1943)
6th U.S. Triple Crown Champion (1943)
U.S. Champion 2-Yr-Old Colt
U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt (1943)
United States Horse of the Year (1943)
Leading sire in North America (1951)
Leading broodmare sire in North America (1963)
U.S. Racing Hall of Fame (1961)
#5 - Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century
Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack
Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park
Last updated on September 27, 2006

Count Fleet (March 24, 1940 – December 3, 1973) was an American thoroughbred racehorse. He was the Triple Crown champion in 1943.


Count Fleet was foaled at Stoner Creek Stud farm in Paris, Kentucky in 1928. He was by Kentucky Derby winner Reigh Count out of a mare named Quickly, by Haste. Count Fleet was owned by the wife of John D. Hertz (1879–1961), best known for the rental car company bearing his name. John Hertz initially did not think much of Count Fleet and contemplated selling him until jockey Johnny Longden convinced him to keep the colt.[1] Count Fleet was trained by Don Cameron and ridden by future Hall of Fame inductee Longden.

Racing record[edit]

As a two-year-old Count Fleet started off slowly, losing several times before getting his first win. He gained respect with his six-length victory in the Champagne Stakes, in which he set a new track record, then followed this up by beating the best horses in the country in the Pimlico Futurity, where he equaled the track record. In the Walden Stakes, he ran away from the field, winning by more than thirty lengths. At season's end, he had won 10 of his 15 races while never being out of the money, a performance that earned him the two-year-old championship honors. He was assigned 132 lbs. on the 1942 Experimental Free Handicap, the highest impost ever.

As a three-year-old, Count Fleet dominated North American racing, never losing a race. Leading up to the Kentucky Derby, he won the important Wood Memorial but injured himself in the process. He recovered to take the Derby, the United States' most prestigious race, by three lengths, then went on to Baltimore, Maryland, where he dominated the Preakness Stakes, taking that one by eight lengths. He won the Withers Stakes before heading to Elmont, New York for the Belmont Stakes where he captured the Triple Crown by scoring a 25-length victory, a margin that stood as the record until surpassed by Secretariat in 1973, and still stands as the second-largest in history. When the season ended, Count Fleet was voted Champion Three Year Old and named American Horse of the Year. In the Horse of the Year poll which was conducted by Turf and Sport Digest magazine Count Fleet received 135 of the possible 143 votes, an unprecedented margin of superiority.[2]

Rather than risk serious injury, Count Fleet did not race as a four-year-old after it was discovered that he had injured his leg.

Stud record[edit]

Count Fleet was retired to stud having won 16 of 21 races and went on to enjoy great success as a sire. His offspring numbered 38 stakes winners, including Kentucky Derby winner Count Turf, Belmont Stakes winners Counterpoint and One Count, Horse of the Year champions, and a Champion Three Year Old Filly. Count Fleet's daughters produced Kelso, 1965 Kentucky Derby winner Lucky Debonair, the Canadian star filly Ice Water, and multiple Grade I stakes winner Tompion. Another daughter, Sequence, mated with 1955 Preakness and Belmont winner Nashua to produce Gold Digger, dam of the influential modern sire Mr. Prospector. His daughter Virginia Water was mated with Princequillo to produce Milan Mill, the dam of Mill Reef.

Death and Longevity[edit]

After failing to stand on his feet for two days from old age infirmities and lameness, Count Fleet died on December 3, 1973 of an apparent blood clot and was buried at Stoner Creek farm in Paris, Kentucky. At the time of his death, he had become the longest lived winner of all three triple crown races according to the foaling and death records that are available. Additionally, he had outlived many of his own offspring. More than forty years later, he remains the longest lived Kentucky Derby winner ever and the longest lived Preakness Stakes winner ever. Nearly fourteen years to the day of his death, Gallant Man surpassed him as the longest lived Belmont Stakes Winner and the longest lived winner of any triple crown race at all.


In 1961, Count Fleet was inducted in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

In the Blood-Horse magazine ranking of the top 100 U.S. thoroughbred champions of the 20th Century, Count Fleet was ranked #5.


Pedigree of Count Fleet (USA), br. h. 1940[3]
Reigh Count
Ch. 1925
Ch. 1919
Sundridge Amphion
Sweet Briar St. Frusquin
B. 1909
Count Schomberg Aughrim
Pitti St. Frusquin
B. 1923
Maintenant Maintenon
Martha Gorman
Miss Malaprop Meddler
Gr. 1925
Stefan the Great The Tetrarch
Perfect Peach
Malachite Rock Sand
Miss Hanover (Family: 6-a)[4]


  1. ^ "Horse racing: 1943 Triple Crown". Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  2. ^ "Count Fleet named Horse of the Year". Pittsburgh Press. 1943-12-18. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  3. ^ "Count Fleet pedigree". 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  4. ^ "Thoroughbred Bloodlines - Cream Cheeks - Family 6-a". Retrieved 2013-06-21.