Triple Crown Newsreel: Affirmed, 1978

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In 1978, Affirmed became the 11th Triple Crown winner just a year after Seattle Slew took all three races. In all three races, he faced down challenges from rival Alydar winning by a length, a neck and a head over his determined rival. These were not the first meetings between these two colts. As two year olds, they faced off six times with Alydar winning two of the meetings. As three year olds, they dominated the West Coast and East Coast before meeting again in the Kentucky Derby.  Alydar challenged Affirmed early in the Belmont and the two battled to finish with Affirmed getting the better of Alydar at the wire.

Jim McKay chronicles the legendary rivalry that defined the 1978 Triple Crown.

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  • Rachel

    For a mile and a half race, this race has had a number of electrifying stretch runs decided by a nose, a head bob, many of them among the greatest moments in US racing.

    The Belmont is my absolute favorite race…”the test of a champion”…I hope IHA can do it, (he made me a chunk of change in the Derby) my high regard for him will not change even if he doesn’t win, he and Optimizer will be the only 2 year-olds with the fortitude to have handled the 3 races…but I do agree with Dale Romans that IHA is owed the chance to fend off determined, talented challengers to have his name spoken of as “Triple Crown Winner…”!

  • http://www.racefund.org/ R.A.C.E. Fund

    Ray, thank you for posting these newsreels of triple crown winners. The rivalry between Affirmed and Alydar was so exciting to watch when they raced against one another. Both horses were absolute champions no doubt. Our organization and others saved a mare by Alydar last year named Promethia. She turned 30 years old this year. She overcame some hardships because she is a fighter like Alydar was. She is doing well now.

  • The Strapper

    Affirmed, in some ways, gained a reprieve today.  The conqueror of Alydar seems perched atop some unreachable mountain peak more and more with each passing year. Thanks for the memories.

  • Jane

    Thanks, Ray, for these video memories. This latest disappointment in “potential” Triple Crown history now seems to further freeze these accomplishments as unsurpassable. Makes you want to pinch yourself if you were able to see Zenyatta or Rachel Alexandra run in person…

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