Thursday, June 7, 2012


Affirmed was the last horse to win the Triple Crown, way back in 1978. He was a dashing chestnut colt, one of the best of all time according to many race watchers.

He was famous as well for the rivalry with Alydar.  Affirmed was the great-great-grandson of the famous War Admiral (who also won the Triple Crown), making him also the great-great-great-grandson of Man o' War.

As a two-year old, Affirmed was starting to show his greatness, winning seven of his nine races in 1977.  Six of his starts were against Alydar.  He was named American Champion Two-Year-Old with Alydar nipping at his heels.

Surprisingly, Alydar was the favorite to win the 1978 Derby has he put in spectacular performances in the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland and the Florida Derby.  We all know by now that being the favorite for the Derby rarely bodes well for the favorite.  Affirmed was the second choice to win at 9-2.  Affirmed won the Derby by 1 1/2 lengths over Alydar.  In the Preakness it was again a 1-2 for Affirmed and Alydar with Affirmed winning the race by a neck.

Many people thought that the longer Belmont Stakes would be better suited for Alydar.  In the race, Affirmed set a very slow pace, allowing Alydar's jockey to place him alongside the strapping chestnut colt with more than seven furlongs to go.  For more than six furlongs the two colts battled it out.  It looked like Alydar might edge out for the win when jockey Steve Cauthen (then just a teenager) went to a left-handed whip, which  he had never done before in his eight rides on Affirmed, which allowed Affirmed to just edge Alydar, winning by a nose.  They raced the fastest mile in Belmont history after starting out with the third slowest start in the race.  At the time the final time of 2:26 4/5 was the third fastest Belmont behind Secretariat and Gallant Man.

Alydar and Affirmed met once again in the Travers at Saratoga.  Affirmed was ridden by Laffit Pincay as Steve Cauthen was injured.  During the race, Affirmed cut off Alydar, entering the far turn which caused Alydar to check suddenly.  Affirmed won the race but was later disqualified and placed second.

As a three-year-old, Affirmed won 8 of 11 races earning $900,000.  He was Horse of the Year and American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse.

He was again named Horse of the Year as a Four-Year Old winning 7 of 9 starts.  In his career he won a record $2,393,000 with 22 wins, 5 seconds, 1 third in 29 starts.  He was a natural speed horse who won most of his races on or near the lead.  When challenged in the stretch he would not let other horses pass him.  

Affirmed was syndicated for 14.4 million dollars and sired over 80 stakes winners with earnings in excess of $44 million (through 2004).  In 2001 he was put down after falling ill with laminitis, the same disease that took Secretariat and Barbero.  He was buried whole - the ultimate honor for a race horse - at Jonabell Farm wearing the flamingo pink colors of his original owners, Harbor View Farm.

Blood Horse magazine ranks Affirmed #12 in the top 100 U.S. thoroughbred champions of the 20th century.  He was elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...