• La Coronel (5-1) leads them all the way in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.Posted 5 days ago
  • Rubilinda (6-5) finds the wire just in time to take the Pebbles Stakes.Posted 5 days ago
  • Engage (1-2) rolls home from last to win the Grade 3 Futurity Stakes.Posted 5 days ago
  • Bolt d'Oro is the 12-1 favorite in the current Las Vegas line for Kentucky Derby 2018.Posted 9 days ago
  • Romantic Vision (6-1) takes the sloppy Spinster (G1) at Keeneland.Posted 11 days ago
  • Unique Bella (1-5) returns with a clear victory in the L. A. Woman (G3) at Santa Anita.Posted 12 days ago
  • Flameaway (5-1) wins a three-horse photo finish in the Dixiana Bourbon (G3) at a wet Keeneland.Posted 12 days ago
  • War Flag (9-1) wins the stretch battle in Belmont's Flower Bowl (G1).Posted 12 days ago
  • Separationofpowers (9-5) impresses in the Frizette at Belmont Park.Posted 12 days ago
  • Roy H (4-5) lives up to favoritism in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship.Posted 12 days ago
Breeders' Cup 2017

Affirmed: The Last Crown Winner

Affirmed: The Last Crown Winner

Affirmed: The Last Crown Winner

I know it may be perhaps a bit too soon for Triple Crown fever, but I can't help but get excited already. And in that case, I've caught the flu.


All of this excitement has gotten me thinking of the last Triple Crown winner and the qualities he had that horses must not have today. Speed, strength, and stamina came into my mind at first, but then I dug deeper and took a closer look at his classic wins in the Derby, Preakness, and Belmont.


In 35 years, every horse that has run in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes has failed to do what Affirmed did so many years ago. The son of Exclusive Native out of Won't Tell You won a hard fought Triple Crown over the tough-hearted Alydar, who will never be forgotten for his will to challenge this champion.


In the Kentucky Derby, Affirmed first sprang out of the gates to emerge second, but then settled back into 3rd behind the two pace setters, Sensitive Prince and Raymond Earl. Meanwhile, Alydar lacked behind by 17 lengths. No horse can make that up, spectators and even fans of his thought. Not unless that horse is Silky Sullivan.


As Sensitive Prince gave way to such a hot pace, Believe It took over the lead at the 6 furlong mark. At the mile pole, Affirmed dragged Cauthen (his jockey for the race and many more) up to the leader and drew even. He took the lead and began to “prick his ears like he always does,” Steve Cauthen would later say. Finally, Alydar showed up on the scene and over took many lengths as fast as he could. At last, it was a show between the two top 3 year olds at the moment. The two barreled across the line, with Affirmed 1 ½ lengths ahead of his nearest competitor, Alydar.


In the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the legendary Triple Crown, Affirmed was easily guided to the lead after a few lengths of the start. After 6 furlongs had gone by, Affirmed lounged on an almost effortless length lead. Noon Time Spender, a 81-1 long shot, tested Affirmed as Believe It settled for 3rd. Now, Alydar was only 4 ½ lengths behind the Kentucky Derby winner, in comparison to his 17 length disadvantage in his previous race. Eventually, Alydar snuck his way up Affirmed, now in the stretch and only a half length apart. Alydar was only able to gain so many lengths before the wire came, catching him a neck behind Affirmed's nose.


The Belmont: perhaps America's toughest race to win, was now all Affirmed had to win to become a legend in himself. When no horse came up to set the pace, Affirmed took to the job. Heading into the backstretch, Alydar came up to Affirmed and glared him down. Then he drew up to him, and the pair never separated for the rest of the race. They raced into the backstretch, and at the wire, Affirmed came out a nose in front, making history by a nose.


In all of his races, Triple Crown or not, this horse has showed one thing: courage. Many horses are too shy to take a rail spot or even race, but this was not the case with Affirmed. He hated to let any horse by him, and it showed in his races. This and, along with good bones and breeding, helped this horse become a champion on American dirt.


Therefore, all things said, I've come up with the conclusion that one of the things that separated him from the horses today was not physical, but rather mental. The latest Triple Crown winner had the utter will to win, and couldn't handle defeat. So, you decide. What is it that has caused the Triple Crown drought? No stamina? Weaker bones? A curse? Regardless of your choice, I know I've satisfied myself with my answer.


Written by Madison Jackson


comments powered by Disqus

Older Comments about Affirmed: The Last Crown Winner...

OK...thanks for pointing that out??
you were going on about how one colt did or did not make the Triple his own, and that LIE about the pin was on idiots way of covering up what just happened to be a less than spectacular performance with the wonderfully rider, Ronnie Franklin
Actually, TV, I do have knowledge of the traffic in the Derby, thanks. How did the story of the pin get brought up on this comment string, anyway? Just curious.
I have seen her get horses in so much trouble that she was one of the very very few I would doiuble take on before wagering when she was up........Finese will take you just so far.
Krone was a comptent, at best, RIDER, at best
Add Julie Krone to that list and I agree.
like Rumbo, Sweetnorthernsaint, Rampage, Afleet Alex etc....Point Given for that matter.
Deep late movers are a supreme disadvantage in the Derby, BIG time disadvantage.
then there is the FICTION about the pin before the Belmont. The only PIN with Bid was the pin head riding him
making your own luck got colts like Marfa and Gate Dancer a DQ
Tampa you have no idea of the traffic in the Derby....MANY a logical winner was denined the roses for NO OTHER REASON than the race being cluttered up with yokels who wanted to hear their colt's name called out the first Saturday in May but really had NO reason to be there.
Tv, luck is controversial, a theory if you will. I believe in making your own luck.
I can honestly say that this would be the third triple crown in my list that I would've loved to witness
Affirmed, not Alydar.
Nicely written TBDF. I think that your description of Alydar reminds me of Silver Charm. SC had Captain Bodgit run right up to him in the Derby, but he would not let him by. His nature showed David Hofmans(I think that's the spelling) that his charge Touch Gold, would have simple instructions. Hofmans stated prior to the Belmont that his strategy would be, that when they entered the stretch, if there was to be a stretch duel, do not look him in the eye. When he came into the stretch, Silver Charm was to the rail, and the jockey swung him wide. Touch Gold emerged as the winner, as Silver Charm faded. Had he ran up beside him, it might have been a different result?
Again the point is missed that it takes LUCK as well as skill to attain that title. LOTS OF LUCK. Swale, Native Dancer, Canonero, Majestic Prince etc did not have the luck but had the skill in excess.
Nice job TBDF. I have yet to witness a triple crown but you article definately conveyed the excitement of what I imagine it would be like. If only not for a tendon injury last june....sigh.
Great article, TBDF! Enjoyed the read and the memories, even though I was an Alydar supporter.
No problem TBDF! Just keep writing ;).
Thank you, I can't say it enough! I love alll of the comments you guys post!

Related Pages

Related Stories

Top Stories