Saturday, May 7, 2011


I had to write today's post ahead of time since I'll be hanging out at the Kentucky Derby all day, and I wanted to feature one of the world's most prominent animal sporting events with a relevant post. Today we'll be learning all about Affirmed, the very last horse to win a Triple Crown, way back in 1978.

Alydar (front) & Affirmed (back)
Affirmed was born at Harbor View Farm in Florida in February 1975. He had some pretty impressive horses in his pedigree, including 1937 Triple Crown Champion War Admiral, Man O' War, and Gallant Fox.

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!

Though he had a rocky end to his three year old career, including a disqualification and a 5th place finish, he was still named Horse of the Year and Champion Three-Year-Old in 1978. He raced as a four-year-old, winning 7 or 9 starts and being once again named Horse of the Year in 1979. At his retirement he totaled out at $2,393,818 in winnings, becoming the first American Thoroughbred to win over $2million.

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.

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