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7 Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Affirmed

If you are a fan of Thoroughbred racing, you have likely heard of Affirmed. The stunning chestnut dominated the racing scene in the 1970s, becoming a legend in the Thoroughbred world.

Affirmed was a Thoroughbred stallion born on February 21, 1975. As a two-year-old, his racing career took off and he became a household name at the time. He became only the eleventh horse to win the coveted Triple Crown in 1978.

During his career, Affirmed won 22 of his 29 starts. He went on to win the American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt in 1977 and the American Champion Three-Year-Old Colt in 1978. To top off his incredible career, he was named the American Horse of the Year in 1978 and 1979, as well as being inducted into the United States Racing Hall of Fame in 1980.

Stats about Affirmed:

Died:January 12, 2001 (aged 25)
Breed:Thoroughbred
Sex:Stallion
Height: 16.1 hands (65 in)
Color:Chestnut
Owner:Harbor View Farm
Breeder:Harbor View Farm
Trainer:Laz Barrera
Jockey:Steve Cauthen
Earnings:$2,393,818
Race Record:29: 22–5–1

Here are seven things you didn’t know about Affirmed, one of the greatest racehorses to ever live.

1. The Origin of His Name Has Been the Subject of Speculation

Affirmed’s owners and breeders were Louis and Patrice Wolfson of Harbor View Farm in Ocala, Florida. Louis Wolfson was an American financier and self-made millionaire.

Throughout his career, there were several instances that Wolfson got in trouble with the law. In 1969, Wolfson received convictions for securities law violations, which were affirmed on appeal, leading to his imprisonment. Some people speculate that the legendary Thoroughbred received his name from Wolfson being affirmed.

2. Affirmed Had a Famous Rivalry With Alydar

Affirmed and Alydar were the biggest rivals in racing during the 1970s. These two Thoroughbreds went head to head on ten different occasions.

Out of their ten match-ups, Affirmed won seven races and Alydar won three. In all three races of the 1978 Triple Crown, Alydar came in second just behind Affirmed. The two rivals were exciting to watch, as they were the best of the best at the time.

“Affirmed is greater than Secretariat, or any Triple Crown winner because only Affirmed had to face Alydar, ” proclaimed Affirmed’s trainer, Laz Barrera.

3. Affirmed Sired Over 80 Stake Winners

After his successful racing career, Affirmed went on to become a stellar stud. He sired 869 named foals.

Of those 869 foals, 86 went on to become stake winners. His progeny went on to amass nearly $55.8 million in earnings. Some of his most notable offspring include Charlie Barley, Flawlessly, Peteski, The Tin Man, and Trusted Partner.

Affirmed, famous chestnut racehorse at Spendthrift Farm 1981
Credit: Visindar (Wikipedia)

4. There Was a 37 Year Wait Before the Next Triple Crown Champion

Just one year before Affirmed became the Triple Crown champion, Seattle Slew earned the title. However, it would be a long 37 years before the next Triple Crown winner after Affirmed.

Affirmed had an exciting journey to winning the Triple Crown. The matchup between Affirmed and Alydar brought in large crowds, as people were eager to see the two great horses compete. After an exciting Kentucky Derby, a then-record crowd came to watch the Preakness Stakes.

By just a neck’s length, Affirmed beat Alydar in an exhilarating Preakness Stakes, bringing the crowd to their feet. With just five horses in the Belmont Stakes, Affirmed secured the Triple Crown. In 2015, after the longest stretch between Triple Crown winning horses, American Pharoah became the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown.

5. Affirmed is the Great-Great-Grandson of War Admiral

Affirmed comes from Thoroughbred royalty. Winning the Triple Crown is in his blood, as his great-great-grandsire was War Admiral, the 1937 Triple Crown Champion. In addition, this means that his great-great-great-grandsire the legendary racehorse, Man o’ War.

6. Affirmed Became the First Thoroughbred in North America to Win More Than $2 Million

In addition to winning the Triple Crown, Affirmed won several other major races. Such races include the Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Derby, Futurity Stakes, and Jockey Club Gold Cup. His success on the track led to him becoming the first Thoroughbred in North America to win over $2 million, as he took home $2,887,999 during his career.

7. Affirmed Had a Record $14.4 Million Syndication Price

After his fantastic racing career, Affirmed was syndicated $14.4 million. At the time, this syndication was a record-breaker. He went on to live at Jonabell Farm near Lexington, Kentucky.

Affirmed, famous chestnut racehorse

Who Was Affirmed’s Jockey?

Affirmed’s primary jockey was Steve Cauthen. Cauthen was born on May 1, 1960, in Covington, Kentucky. At just 18 years old, Cauthen became the youngest jockey ever to win the Triple Crown while riding Affirmed.

During his racing career, he went on to win 2,794. In addition to racing in America, he also raced in Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, and France.

Cauthen earned many top honors including the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey, Associated Press Athlete of the Year, and Sports Illustrated – Sportsman of the Year. In 1984, he became a member of the United States Racing Hall of Fame.

How Did Affirmed Die?

On January 12, 2001, Affirmed was euthanized due to complications from laminitis at the age of 26.

In October of 2000, Affirmed underwent surgery to pain caused by a ligamentous injury on his left foreleg. The stallion originally showed progress while recovering after his surgery. However, he then began to develop additional problems that aggravated laminitis in the opposite foreleg. This led to the hard decision to put him down.

Where is Affirmed Buried?

Affirmed is buried next to the stallion complex at Jonabell Farm. He was buried whole, which is considered the highest honor for a racehorse. His signature flamingo pink and black silks were buried along with him.

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