“For more than half a century, you couldn’t attend a Kentucky Derby or an Olympics without running into Jerry Cooke at the finish line. He photographed 42 Kentucky Derbies and before each Derby his words to S.I. director of photography never varied. Don’t worry, Cooke would say, I’ve got the finish line.” — Steve Fine, SI Photography Director, 2005
Triple Crown Winners
The Triple Crown Trophy, commissioned in 1950, is awarded to a Triple Crown winner of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. Only 11 horses have ever won the Triple Crown, none since 1978. Cooke photographed Affirmed in 1978, the last Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew in 1977, and Secretariat in 1973.