Today’s Derby winner of the day is Affirmed, the most recent Triple Crown winner (1978). When I was a kid I had a secret dream to be a jockey. Even back then I knew it would never happen, but I dreamed anyway. When I was in eighth grade I did a report on Steve Cauthen, the jockey who rode Affirmed to victory in each of the three jewels of the Triple Crown, and I became something of a fan.

Affirmed was born February 21, 1975 to dam Won’t Tell You from sire Exclusive Native. He was owned and bred by Harbor View Farm and trained by Laz Barrera.

Affirmed held off rival Alydar to win the 1978 Kentucky Derby.

The 1978 Triple Crown story is interesting because while Affirmed won each race, his rival Alydar came in second each time. It is one of those cases where if they hadn’t been 3 years old at the same time, they both could have won a Triple Crown. It is also interesting because Steve Cauthen is the youngest jockey to ever win the Triple Crown, at age 18.

As a 3-year-old, Affirmed was named Horse of the Year (1978), and repeated the feat as a 4-year-old (1979).
Affirmed retired to stud where he had a very successful career, siring over 80 stakes winners. He was euthanized after becoming seriously ill with laminitis (the same illness that caused the death of fellow Triple Crown winner Secretariat), on January 12, 2001.
Affirmed is the last horse to have won the American Triple Crown of horse racing.

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