Happy Triple Crown™ Tuesday!
Winning the Triple Crown™ is a prestigious honor. Comprised of three races; Preakness Stakes, the Kentucky Derby® and Belmont Stakes, becoming a Triple Crown™ winner is the greatest honor that any horse racing team strives to achieve throughout their racing career. Only 12 horses in history have won the Triple Crown™, proving just how hard it is to complete the trifecta.
Belmont Experiences is breaking down each of the 12 Triple Crown™ winners for you in a 12-part series occurring every Tuesday. This week’s Triple Crown™ winner is one who wore it well in 1978!
Winning the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes was enough to make him Horse of the Year in 1978 but this wasn’t the end of Affirmed. This Triple Crown™ winner was the only one to go on to accomplish so much more after completing the trifecta.
Affirmed did not go in to the Kentucky Derby® as the favored horse, in fact at the beginning of the race he trailed in third place. On the final turn, Affirmed pushed to the lead, held off his arch-rival, Alydar and won by 1 ½ lengths. With a change of pace at Preakness Stakes, Affirmed held a steady but short lead throughout the race and pulled the same move he did at the Kentucky Derby®, beating Alydar again, by a neck.
During Belmont Stakes, Alydar’s trainer removed his blinkers in hopes that if he could see Affirmed he would get by him during the race. Setting a very slow pace, Affirmed took the lead, taking 25 seconds to finish the first quarter mile with Alydar sticking close to his side. The colts raced neck and neck in the final stretch as Alydar got his nose in front at mid-stretch. Just when it seemed as though Alydar was in the position to win, Affirmed stuck out his neck and won by a nose.
Affirmed went on to be a Triple Crown™ winner, the last winner for the next 37 years until 2015! His Triple Crown™ win set two records, the shortest gap between him and the previous Triple Crown™ winner and the longest gap between him and the next Triple Crown™ winner.
Attend the 150th Anniversary of the Belmont Stakes in 2018
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