3-year-old season, the Gold Cup was a defining moment of the Harbor View Farm runner's second consecutive Horse of the Year campaign. Under a weight that would have staggered most horses, Affirmed thrived--battling the entire 1 1/4 miles against the talented European import, Sirlad, and edging away to a three-quarter-length victory in 1:58 2/5, just one-fifth off the track record. If Affirmed's Belmont turned me into a committed fan, the Gold Cup sealed the deal. Soon thereafter, I sought out and got a job with Daily Racing Form in Los Angeles. That put me in the Thoroughbred industry full-time, and, eventually, led to my association with this publication. News of Affirmed's death on Jan. 12 reminded me just how much one horse can elicit emotions that change your life.
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