Affirmed is the eleventh winner of the American Triple Crown ridden by jockey Steve Cauthen. He was foaled on February 21, 1975, at the Harbor View Farm, a 438-acre spread in Ocala, Florida. His sire was Exclusive Native. His dam was Won’t Tell You, a daughter of Crafty Admiral. Both grandsires were champions. Affirmed was the great-great-grandson of Triple Crown winner War Admiral and the great-great-great-grandson of Man o’ War.
Affirmed’s first race was on May 24, 1977, at Belmont Park in New York, an easy win that he followed with a victory in the Youthful Stakes on June 15. This is where Affirmed first met his almost equally rare talent rival: Alydar.
The storied rivalry between Affirmed and Alydar is among the best stories in Thoroughbred racing. Affirmed and Alydar met on ten different occasions, including all three Triple Crown races and a thrilling stretch duel in the Belmont Stakes. He also won multiple stakes races at Santa Anita and Belmont Park.
Affirmed’s Achieves and Retirement
Affirmed captured the Derby by a length and a half, the Preakness by a neck, and the Belmont by a head. He managed to fend off Alydar in seven of their 10 meetings, with two of his losses to that foe coming at age 2, when both of them were still figuring out the game and maturing, and another through disqualification in the Travers Stakes.
Affirmed was voted Horse of the Year in 1978 and 1979. He began what would be his final year as a 4-year old by winning his final seven races, including the Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup, Woodward, and the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Affirmed was retired at the end of 1979 after winning 22 of his 29 career races and earning purses totaling a then-record $2,393,818. He stood in the stud at the Jonabell Farm near Lexington, Kentucky. He lived until 2001 when he was euthanized at age 26. Affirmed was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1980.
Affirmed Race record
- Hopeful Stakes Winner (USA-G1, 6.5FD, Saratoga)
- Futurity Stakes Winner (USA-G1, 7FD, Belmont)
- Laurel Futurity Winner (USA-G1, 8.5FD, Laurel)
- Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes Winner (first division) (USA-G2, 6FD, Hollywood)
- Sanford Stakes Winner (USA-G2, 6FD, Saratoga)
- Youthful Stakes Winner (USA, 5.5FD, Belmont)
- 2nd Champagne Stakes (USA-G1, 8FD, Belmont)
- 2nd Great American Stakes (USA, 5.5FD, Belmont)
- Santa Anita Derby Winner (USA-G1, 9FD, Santa Anita)
- Hollywood Derby Winner (USA-G1, 9FD, Hollywood)
- Kentucky Derby Winner (USA-G1, 10FD, Churchill Downs)
- Preakness Stakes Winner (USA-G1, 9.5FD, Pimlico)
- Belmont Stakes Winner (USA-G1, 12FD, Belmont)
- San Felipe Handicap Winner (USA-G2, 8.5FD, Santa Anita)
- Jim Dandy Stakes Winner (USA-G2, 9FD, Saratoga)
- 2nd Marlboro Cup Handicap (USA-G1, 10FD, Belmont)
- 2nd Travers Stakes (USA-G1, 10FD, Saratoga; disqualified from first)
- Charles H. Strub Stakes Winner (USA-G1, 10FD, Santa Anita)
- Santa Anita Handicap Winner (USA-G1, 10FD, Santa Anita; new track record 1:58-3/5)
- Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes Winner (USA-G1, 12FD, Belmont)
- Californian Stakes Winner (USA-G1, 8.5FD, Hollywood)
- Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap Winner (USA-G1, 10FD, Hollywood)
- Woodward Stakes Winner (USA-G1, 10FD, Belmont)
- 2nd San Fernando Stakes (USA-G2, 9FD, Santa Anita)
- 3rd Malibu Stakes (USA-G2, 7FD, Santa Anita)
- National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (inducted in 1980)
- Saratoga Hoofprints Walk of Fame (inducted as part of the inaugural class in 2013)
- Arcadia Historical Society’s Racing Walk of Champions (inducted as part of the inaugural class in 2014)
- American Horse of the Year (1978, 1979)
- American champion 2-year-old male (1977)
- Eclipse Award, American champion 3-year-old male (1978)
- Eclipse Award, American champion older male (1979)
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