On 23 March 1975 a beautiful chestnut colt was born on Calumet Farm. He was sired by Raise A Native and his dam was Sweet Tooth by On-And-On. He was named Alydar and from the start his owners had high hopes for him. Unfortunately for Alydar, 1975 was the same year that racing great Affirmed was born. In the years to come, Alydar would finish a close second to Affirmed in all three races of the Triple Crown but never come first. Nevertheless, no horse has ever repeated the feat and this is a testament to Alydar’s greatness as a racehorse.
The Legacy of Alydar
On March 23, 1975, a beautiful chestnut colt came into the world. Born on Calumet Farm, he was sired by Raise A Native, and was called Alydar. From the beginning, his new owners placed high hopes on his success at the racetrack. However, 1975 also marked the year that racing great Affirmed was born, the main rival of Alydar.
In the following years, Alydar finished a very close second to Affirmed in three races of the Triple Crown. However, he never came in first in the Triple Crown event. Nevertheless, no other horse since then has accomplished the same feat as Alydar in the Triple Crown – a testament to the horse’s greatness and spirit.
During Alydar’s racing days, he was sent for training with John Veitch and was ridden by jockey, Jorge Velasquez. As noted, he showed great promise from the start, which prompted his owners to enter Alydar into the 1978 Triple Crown. While Alydar did not win a single leg of the race, his duel against Affirmed in the final series, or Belmont Stakes, was an exciting finish.
During the competition, both horses ran side by side, down the final stretch – that is, until Affirmed managed, barely, to claim the Triple Crown. Alydar, on his own, was an exceptional thoroughbred. Of the 26 races he ran in the course of his career, he won 14, finished second 9 times, and came in third place once. Alydar also managed to beat Affirmed in 3 of the 10 races where the two competed. The total winnings of Alydar came to $957,195.
After his career on the racetrack ended, Alydar was sent to stud where he excelled as a breeding stallion. Alydar’s offsping included the following:
• Easy Goer
• Strike the Gold
• Miss Oceana
• Criminal Type
Despite Alydar’s many contributions to racing, his life was cut short in 1990. Unfortunately, he shattered his right hind leg in his stall. Although attempts were made to repair the injury, the leg broke again and the decision was made to euthanize the great horse.
In 1990, Alydar was named Leading Sire in North America and is currently listed 27th of the top 100 U.S. racehorses in the twentieth century. Inducted into the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame in 1989, Alydar is still considered a legendary race horse and competitor.
What Is the Triple Crown and Why Is It Important?
The Triple Crown in horse racing is indeed an important event, as it involves a challenge that cannot be surpassed on the racing track. Definitively, the Triple Crown is comprised of 3 thoroughbred horse racing competitions. During the events, 3-year-old horses rival one another for the coveted Triple Crown. Traditionally taking place during the months of May and June, the event requires that a horse win 3 times on 3 different tracks during a 5-week period.
Winners of the Triple Crown Event
The first challenge is set at the Kentucky Derby, then followed by a horse race, two weeks later, at the Preakness Stakes. The last and determining qualifier takes place at the Belmont States. In the history of horse racing, and as of 2020, only 13 horses have achieved the prize of the Triple Crown.
Below are the horses and the year they won:
• Sir Barton – 1919
• Gallant Fox – 1930
• Omaha – 1935
• War Admiral – 1937
• Whirlaway – 1941
• Count Fleet – 1943
• Assault – 1946
• Citation – 1948
• Secretariat – 1973
• Seattle Slew – 1977
• Affirmed – 1978
• American Pharoah – 2015
• Justify – 2018
Many people, even those who don’t follow horse racing, remember Triple Crown Winner, Secretariat. Secretariat has the noted distinction of holding the stakes record for each race of the Triple Crown. The horse’s time was 1:59 in the Kentucky Derby; 1:53 in the Preakness Stakes; and 2:24 in the Belmont Stakes.
The Oldest and Youngest Jockeys
Affirmed’s jockey, Steve Caulthen, was the youngest jockey to win the Triple Crown in 1978. He was 18 years old at the time. Riding Triple Crown winner, Justify, 40 years later, Mike Smith was the oldest jockey to win the horse event in 2018.
Of the Triple Crown winners, Gallant Fox, who won the 1930 Triple Crown, was the only winner to sire another Triple Crown champion, Omaha, who won the event in 1935. William Woodward, was the owner and breeder of both father and son racing greats. Both of the equine contestants were trained by Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons.
The Triple Crown during 2020
During the pandemic year of 2020, the Triple Crown, for the first time, changed its racing schedule. Each race in the event was scheduled farther apart, which is, indeed, notable. The year, 2020, gave the contenders of the Triple Crown more of a reprieve between races. During the year’s event, the Belmont Stakes was slated as the first race in the challenge.
The second race scheduled was the Kentucky Derby, and the Preakness Stakes ended up last on the roster. The 2020 pandemic turned the Triple Crown schedule upside down. Instead of being scheduled on May 2, the Kentucky Derby was run on September 5, 2020.
The Preakness Stakes was moved up from May 16 to October 3, and the Belmont Stakes was run on June 20 instead of June 6. Also, because the pandemic impacted the training times for preparing for the event, the Belmont States was reduced to 9 furlongs, or 1 1/8 miles in length instead of 12 furlongs, or 1 1/2 miles of track.
Winners of 2020’s Triple Crown Events
Winners of the Triple Crown event in 2020 were 3 different horses. Tiz the Law blew dust at the competition in the Belmont Stakes while Authentic was able to place first in the 2020 Kentucky Derby. The Preakness Stakes was won by Skydiver.
The Triple Crown events during 2020 reminded many race goers of the fierce competitiveness of Alydar and Affirmed during the 1978 Triple Crown. Even during a pandemic year, people could still see a silver lining at the racing track.