|Grandsire||Raise a Native|
|Dam||Won't Tell You|
|Breeder||Harbor View Farm|
|Owner||Harbor View Farm|
Affirmed was an American Thoroughbred racehorse, and the 11th and most recent Triple Crown winner. He and his equally famous rival, Alydar, met 10 times, including all three of the Triple Crown races. Affirmed was the great-great grandson of War Admiral, another Triple Crown winner, and Crafty Admiral, making him the great-great-great grandson of Man o'War.
As a two year old, Affirmed raced nine times, winning seven and placing second twice. In six of these races, he was against Alydar, from Calumet Farm; Affirmed winnning four times, and Alydar winning twice. Because of his great record, Affirmed was named the 1977 Champion Two-Year-Old Colt. His regular rider was 17 year old Steve Cauthen.
The Triple Crown 
Like in most of their races, Alydar was made the favorite in the Kentucky Derby at odds of 6-5, with Affirmed right behind at 9-5; unbeaten Sensitive Prince was made the third favorite at 9-2. From the beginning, Sensitive Prince took an early lead with Affirmed running easily in third, and Alydar staying far back. After the race his jockey was reported saying that he just couldn't get a hold of the track. At the far turn, Affirmed took the lead, fighting off Wood Memorial winner, Believe It, and finishing 1-1/2 lenghts in front of Alydar.
In the Preakness Stakes, Affirmed set the pace, and kept his lead as Alydar made his move on the far turn, holding him off to win by a neck.
With no speed horses in the 1-1/2 mile Belmont Stakes, Affirmed set a very slow pace going a quarter of a mile in 25 seconds, and a half in 50 seconds. Alydar kept close to him, and moved up beside him with more than seven furlongs to go. The pace quickened as the two ran neck and neck, pulling away from the rest of the field. The pair stayed that way for over six furlongs, and Alydar sticking his nose in front mid-stretch. Needing more from his mount, Cauthen used a left-handed whip on the tiring Affirmed, something he had never done before, and Affirmed surged forward to win by a nose. At the time, this had been the third fastest Belmont Stakes ever. Affirmed won the Triple Crown, and Alydar had done something no other horse had done: finished second in all tree races.
After the Triple Crown
Affirmed returned to racing in early August in the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga. In what was almost an upset, he caught front-runner, Sensitive Prince, in the last 100 yards, a race that Laz Barrera called one of Affirmed's finest efforts.
Affirmed and Alydar met one more time, in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. With Cauthen out with an injury, Hall-of-Famer, Laffit Pincay rode Affirmed; on the far turn, he cut off Alydar, causing his rival to check suddenly. Affirmed finished first, but was disqualified and placed second. The two horses never raced against each other again, and their final winning tally stood at Affirmed, 7, and Alydar, 3.
Affirmed then prepared to meet another rival: 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. The 1978 Marlboro Cup Invitational Handicap marked the first time in racing history that two Triple Crown winners ever met in a race. Seattle Slew was a speed horse and got the first quarter mile in 24 seconds under jockey Angel Cordero, who never allowed Affirmed to get close. Seattle Slew won by three lengths in 1:45-4/5 for the one-turn mile and one-eighth. The two horses met once more, in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. This time, Affirmed was to be aided by his stablemate Life's Hope, who was entered in the race to extend Seattle Slew in the early stages. However, Affirmed's saddle slipped during the race, leaving jockey, Steve Cauthen, with almost no control. He tired to finish unplaced as Exceller and jockey Willie Shoemaker defeated Seattle Slew by a nose.
As a three-year-old, Affirmed won 8 of 11 starts with 2 seconds and 1 unplaced run, for earnings of $901,541. He was named Horse of the Year despite the losses to Alydar, Seattle Slew, and Exceller, and was also named the American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse.
As a four-year-old in 1979, Affirmed started the season with a third place finish in the Malibu Stakes and a second in the San Fernando Stakes. He had a five race losing sequence prior to starting in the Charles H. Strub Stakes at Santa Anita Park. Laz Barrera replaced Cauthen with Pincay and Affirmed didn't lose again and would dominate the handicaps the rest of the year.
Affirmed won the Strub Stakes, and then ran in the Santa Anita Handicap against Exceller, who had defeated Seattle Slew in 1978. Affirmed won easily, setting the new stakes record in California's most important stakes race which still stands as of 2008. Affirmed then went to Hollywood Park, where he won the Californian Stakes, carrying 132 pounds; he then won the Hollywood Gold Cup in a three horse finish, from Sirlad and Text, setting an all-time earnings record, and running the 1-1/4 miles in a fast 1:58-2/5. Affirmed picked up the Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park, and then faced three-year-old Spectacular Bid in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, also at Belmont. Like Alydar, Spectacular Bid preferred to run off the pace, and once again, Affirmed was allowed to set a slow pace, going the first half mile in 49 seconds. Spectacular Bid issued challenges at Affirmed, but Affirmed won. Spectacular Bid was undefeated during the rest of his racing career.
He was named Horse of the Year and the American Champion Older Male Horse of 1979, having won 7 of 9 starts, with one second and one third, earning $1,148,000 as a four-year-old. In his entire career, he became the first North American thoroughbred to win more than $2 million, earning $2,393,818 with 22 wins, 5 seconds, and 1 third from 29 starts.
Affirmed's courage was in many ways his most remarkable attribute. Affirmed was a natural speed horse who won most of his races on or near the lead. However, when challenged in the stretch, even by top horses such as Alydar and Specutacular Bid, he simply would not let them pass. Affirmed, therefore, had a lethal combination of speed (which allowed him to get early position and not have to rely on a good run to win) and courage (which allowed him to fend off challengers).
Affirmed was syndicated at a then-record 14.4 million dollars. At stud, Affirmed sired over 80 stakes winners, nine champions with earnings in excess of $44,000,000 (through 2004), including:
- Charlie Barley (USA), stakes winner in the United States
- Flawlessly, North America's grass course champion in 1992 and 1993
- Peteski (CAN), won USA Molson Export Million Stakes and Canadian Triple Crown
- The Tin Man, won multiple Grade I races, including the Arlington Million
- Trusted Partner (USA), won Grade I IRE One Thousand Guineas
Though Affirmed never raced on turf, he was a noted sire of turf runners, most notably Flawlessly and The Tin Man. His daughters are valued as broodmares.
In 2001, Affirmed was euthanized after falling seriously ill with laminitis, a circulatory hoof disease. The same disease has also led to the death of fellow Triple Crown winner Secretariat and Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. He was buried whole (the ultimate honor for a race horse) at Jonabell Farm, wearing the flamingo pink colors of his original owners, Harbor View Farm.
In the Blood-Horse magazine ranking of the Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century, Affirmed was ranked number twelve.
Affirmed's Triple Crown accomplishment has not been repeated since, and his career has been honored with his election to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
- United States Racing Hall of Fame (1980)
- Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park
- Affirmed Stakes at Calder Race Course
- Affirmed Street in Napa, California
- 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)
Triple Crown race wins:
- 11th U.S. Triple Crown Champion (1978)
- American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt (1977)
- American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse (1978)
- American Champion Older Male Horse (1979)
- American Horse of the Year (1978. 1979)
Raise a Native
Won't Tell You
Native Gal (family: 23-b)
For more pictures and screencaps of Affirmed, click here.