|Alydar (front) & Affirmed (back)|
By May 1977 he was entered in his very first race, which he won by 4 1/2 lengths. It was during his second race that he first met Alydar, the horse that would become his fiercest challenger. Affirmed and Alydar would strike one of horse racing's most epic rivalries.
Alydar and Affirmed faced each other ten times throughout their careers, including the Triple Crown Races. Alydar won three of those ten starts, but placed second in all three Triple Crown races, becoming the first horse to do so. Affirmed's margin of victory in the Derby was 1 1/2 lengths, the Preakness was a neck, and the Belmont was a mere nose! Quite the rivalry indeed!
Affirmed went to stud and produced 808 foals during 18 seasons, averaging a fee of $30,000. Interestingly, it was Alydar who had the last laugh at stud, producing a higher percentage of racing offspring, and hitting fees of $100,000.
Affirmed was euthanized in 2001 after suffering from severe Lamnitis, the same hoof disease that took fellow 1970s Triple Crown winner Secretariat.