The 11th Triple Crown champion is Affirmed, who won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in 1978. After him, no other Triple Crown champion appeared until 2015 when American Pharoah broke the 37 year long draught.
After a three-year-long racing career, Affirmed was retired from racing and become a sought-after stud. He sired over 80 stakes winners, including famous names such as Peteski and Flawlessly. (Peteski became a Canadian Triple Crown champion.)
Affirmed was euthanized in 2001 because of laminitis. He was buried at Jonabell Farm wearing the pink colors of his native Harbor View Farm.
Basic information about Affirmed
Lifespan: February 21, 1975 – January 12, 2001
Sire: Exclusive Native
Dam: Won´t Tell You
Breeder: Harbor View Farm
Owner: Harbor View Farm
Trainer: Laz Barrera
Jockey: Affirmed´s regular rider was Steve Cauthen
Affirmed raced for three years: 1977, 1978 and 1979.
Record: 29: 22-5-1
Earnings: $2,393,818 (He was the first throughbred in North America to win more than $2 million in race prize money.)
Triple Crown race wins:
Kentucky Derby (1978)
Preakness Stakes (1978)
Belmont Stakes (1978)
Other major wins:
Youthful Stakes (1977)
Hollywood Juvenile Championship (1977)
Sanford Stakes (1977)
Hopeful Stakes (1977)
Futurity Stakes (1977)
Laurel Futurity (1977)
San Felipe Stakes (1978)
Santa Anita Derby (1978)
Hollywood Derby (1978)
Jim Dandy Stakes (1978)
Strub Stakes (1979)
Santa Anita Handicap (1979)
Californian Stakes (1979)
Hollywood Gold Cup (1979)
Woodward Stakes (1979)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (1979)
1977 American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt
11th U.S. Triple Crown Champion (1978)
1978 American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse
1978 American Horse of the Year
1979 American Horse of the Year
1979 American Champion Older Male Horse
Affirmed was inducted into the United States Racing Hall of Fame in 1980
When Blood-Horse Magazine compiled their list of Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century, they put Affirmed on place 12.
Races named after Affirmed
Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park
Affirmed Stakes at Calder Race Course
Affirmed Street in Napa, California
Winning the Triple Crown
Affirmed had a long-standing rivalry with Alydar and the two faced off in all the three Triple Crown races. Alydar was the punter favorite going into the Kentucky Derby, but Affirmed won the race with a 1 ½ length. Affirmed set the pace at the Preakness Stakes, but Alydar came in strong on the far turn and came very close to winning the race. It was Affirmed to passed the finnish line first, but he only defeated Alydar by a neck.
Now, Affirmed had a chance to become a Triple Crown champion – but would Alydar prevent him? The Belmont Stakes is two furlongs longer than the Kentucky Derby and 5/16 of ta mile longer than the Preakness Stakes, and many experts believed that this extra length would favour Alydar.
At the Belmont, Affirmed took the lead, but kept a slow pace and finnished the first half mile in 50 seconds. Alydar´s jockey kept Alydar close to the pace, and when there were still over seven furlongs left of the race, he positioned Alydar alongside Affirmed. The two rivals raced neck and neck for more than six furlongs, creating a big gap to the rest of the field. At mid-stretch, Alydar got his nose in front, and Affirmed’s jockey decided to apply his left-handed whip to Affirmed – something he had never done on any of Affirmed’s previous races.
Affirmed won the race by a mere nose – but it was enough to turn him into the 11th U.S. Triple Crown champion. He started out very slow, but then raced the fastest last mile Belmont Stakes history, finnishing the race in 2:26 4/5.
Affirmed was bred by Louis Wolfson´s Harbor View Farm in Marion County, Florida.
For his two-year-old season, Affirmed won seven of the nine races he started in. The very first win was at Belmont Park, where Affirmed won a mained special weight race on May 24, 1977.
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