Affirmed, the last horse to sweep the Triple Crown. We’ve been hearing that now for 34 years. Eleven horses have won the first two legs since Affirmed in 1978 and all came up short in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Some appeared worthy at the time of joining the 11 immortals that have accomplished racing’s most difficult feat, while others did not.
Patrice Wolfson, who owned Affirmed with her husband Louis under the banner Harbor View Farm, feels it’s time to pass the torch to a horse she believes is worthy to follow in the footsteps of Affirmed.
“There were years I felt it wasn’t the right time to relinquish (the title of ‘last Triple Crown winner’),” Wolfson said on a national teleconference. “But I think the time is right. This little guy (I'll Have Another ) would be a worthy successor. He’s very tenacious in the stretch, he strides out beautifully in his gallops, and is a very exciting horse to watch. There’s something about him that reminds me a little of Affirmed, the way he wants to win. I just think it’s time. Racing needs a star and he could be a star.”
Steve Cauthen, who rode Affirmed to victory in the Triple Crown at the age of 18, agrees with Wolfson.
“What I love is that this horse has a lot of fight in him,” he said. “He likes to run and he likes to battle. And he’s a very relaxed horse, like Affirmed was. Nothing seems to bother him. He’s very athletic and he knows how to look after himself, which is so important.
“I’m ready to pass it on. They have a great team and I’ve been very impressed with Doug O’Neill. His jockey, Mario Gutierrez, is a great kid and I admire his confidence and the way he’s always relaxed. So, I’m rooting for them and I hope all goes well. I think the whole racing world is dying to have another great horse come along and capture their hearts.”