King Ranch Assault Race Horse
King Ranch Assault Race Horse Finishing Place

Assault: 1946 Triple Crown Champion

The story of Assault is one that epitomizes the heart and courage of a race horse. By Bold Venture and out of Igual, he became the greatest of King Ranch’s major stakes winners, completing a racing career that brought eighteen victories and total earnings of $674,720. In 1946 Assault became the seventh Triple Crown champion in turf history and the only Texas bred horse to win the Triple Crown.

Assault after the race.

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Trainer M. Hirsh and Assault.
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Assault was the project of Robert Kleberg, Jr. and trainer Max Hirsch. Considered short among his peers at just over 15 hands, the young horse fostered only whispered expectations, especially since he walked with an awkward gait. He stepped on a surveyor’s stake early on and favored his right forefoot long after the injury healed. While he may have walked with a limp, Assault ran like the wind, including the breezes that run through Churchill Downs.

Warren Mehrtens, the jockey who rose the Thoroughbred to Triple Crown victory said “He beat whatever you threw at him that year . . . Assault was all heart . . . he was just better than all the horses around.”

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Triple Crown Winner
Assault winning the Kentucky Derby

Winner - 1946

Kentucky Derby

Assault winning the Preakness Stakes

Winner - 1946

Preakness Stakes

Assault winning the Belmont Stakes

Winner - 1946

Belmont Stakes