Editor's Note: In the third of 11 installments on previous Triple Crown winners, here is an excerpt from The Blood-Horse of June 15, 1935 on Omaha winning the Belmont Stakes to complete the Triple Crown.
The nearest counterpart to England's Derby now left in America is the Belmont Stakes (3-year-olds, 1 1/2 miles), endowed for its sixty-seventh running with $25,000.
The 1935 renewal, at Belmont Park, June 8, brought only five starters to the post, so completely had the superiority of Belair Stud's Omaha been conceded. Walter M. Jeffords' Firethorn, closest to Omaha in the Preakness, Foxcatcher Farm Stable's Rosemont, victor over the Belair star in the one-mile Withers Stakes, and Alfred Vanderbilt's Cold Shoulder, fresh from a workout over the Belmont distance in 2:29 2/5, were the only colts whose owners still retained hopes of downing William Woodward's fine racer. The remaining starter, Sir Beverley, is a stablemate of Omaha.
The small field gave Starter George Cassidy little trouble, and was away quickly. Willie Saunders, who was beaten on Omaha in his last previous start, profited by the experience and steered for the rail, saving every possible inch around the first turn. Cold Shoulder was indulged with the lead, and soon had opened a sizable gap, with Firethorn in second place. Omaha was next, Rosemont fourth. Sir Beverley, after a half-mile, was simply not in the race. The order was not changed until the field had gone nearly a half-mile. Cold Shoulder had widened his advantage to five lengths, and had not begun to shorten stride.
Those who remembered the Vanderbilt colt's fine workout began to believe that the Display colt might hold his lead. No such fear affected Saunders on the Gallant Fox colt, or Raymond Workman on Firethorn. Each was watching the other, careless of how far Cold Shoulder stole into the lead. After seven furlongs Rosemont sprinted past both of them, but neither moved to repulse the Foxcatcher colt. Then, with a half-mile to go, Workman asked Firethorn the question, and the Sun Briar colt began moving swiftly forward on the inside. Immediately Saunders swung his bat on Omaha, and the Belair crack lengthened stride. The leaders were picked up without the formality of a challenge, and Firethorn entered the stretch in first place, Omaha at his throat-latch. A determined struggle in the stretch carried the leaders far out from the rest of the field. Fifty yards from the finish Omaha had taken the lead, and he drew out to win with a half-length of daylight showing over Firethorn. Rosemont was third, eight lengths behind the Jeffords colt, a length in front of Cold Shoulder. Fifteen lengths farther back came the winner's stablemate, Sir Beverley, eased up after being outrun.
Amid hearty cheering, Saunders brought Omaha back to the winner's circle, the victory being the the most popular of the day. There, despite a driving rain, waited Omaha's owner, William Woodward, and the New York banker led in, for the second time in his Turf career, a horse which had won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes in his colors. The first, in 1930, was Gallant Fox, sire of the present 3-year-old champion, now indisputably at the top of his division. Omaha was the third horse to complete the triple, Sir Barton having accomplished the feat in 1919, and was the first to be sired by a horse which had won the three events.
Omaha's victory was worth $35,480, and brought his total earnings to $106,930, of which $103,080 has been won this year. In 15 starts he has won five races, finished second five times, third once. He has won four of his six starts at three, finished once second, once third.
(Afternote: Omaha met the great handicap star Discovery in the Brooklyn two weeks after the Belmont and finished third behind him. Discovery went on to become Horse of the Year, stamping Omaha as the only Triple Crown winner who failed to earn the highest honors. Omaha raced as a 4-year-old in England, where his supreme effort came in a nose loss in the prestigious Ascot Gold Cup at 2 1/2 miles. Omaha, who was returned to the U.S. to stand at stud, was buried near the entrance to Ak-Sar-Ben near Omaha, Neb. He ranks No. 61 on The Blood-Horse's Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century.)