Affirmed : Race Horse
This spectacular racehorse was a living legend who dominated the track and crept into the hearts of many. He was foaled on 21 February 1975 to the mare Won’t Tell You and sired by Exclusive Native, and owned by Louis and Patrice Wolfson. Affirmed would ride under the colors of Harbor View Farm and be trained by Laz Barrera. His famous rivalry with Alydar would begin even before they had met, as rumors of the new addition to the Calumet family sparked rumors and excitement surrounding these two horses.
After making his debut as a two-year old, Affirmed was set to run in the Youthful Stakes, with a surprise entry of Alydar, who had not been raced yet. Alydar came in fifth, with Affirmed winning the race. At the Great American Stakes, Affirmed and Alydar were reunited, and this time Alydar took the winning position. Tension between the supporters and the horses started to grow. Everyone wanted to know who was the better horse, but stories started to settle down as the two horses parted ways. Affirmed was sent to run in the Hollywood Juvenile Stakes in the west, and Alydar went east to run in the Tremont Stakes. Both horses won their respective races. Affirmed moved back east and continued on his winning streak, while Alydar continued on his. Affirmed had started to mature and become more confident, and meeting up with his rival, Alydar, was inevitable. The meeting of the two horses was to be at the Hopeful Stakes. The tension started to mount once again, and the spectators were all in favor of Alydar winning the race. But on this race, Affirmed had more determination, and gathered up all his courage and heart to win the race and beat Alydar. The Futurity Stakes that was held two weeks after the Hopeful Stakes saw Affirmed and Alydar head to head once again. Stride for stride the two horses stayed together, but Affirmed took the win. And so the rivalry between the two continued, until they ended the year with Affirmed beating Alydar at four races, and Alydar beating Affirmed twice.
In 1978, Affirmed secured the Triple Crown by winning the Belmont Stakes, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, only narrowly taking the win from Alydar. He also won the Hollywood and the Santa Anita Derbies. The Belmont Stakes race was the most nail biting in history, as the two horses came so close together that the jockeys had to change their crops to different hands. The race was that close. The rivalry between Alydar and Affirmed would go down in history, and on the last race they faced each other, led to disappointment. In 1978, at the Travers Stakes, Laffit Pincay, substituted for Affirmative’s regular jockey, Cauthen. Pincay cut Alydar off and forced Alydar to check. Affirmed did win, but the actions of the jockey led to the disqualification of Affirmed.
Affirmed would later meet up with Alydar at the Calumet Farm, both in stud. Affirmed sired many race winners, but none like himself. He might have been a relatively small horse, but he had the heart, the determination and the courage. In 2001, Affirmed contracted laminitis, a fatal hoof disease, and was euthanized. He was given the highest honor that a racehorse can receive, he was buried whole, wearing the colors of his original owners, and leaving the world with precious memories and the reminder of his spectacular life, through his children. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.