The Blood-Horse Library

On This Day...

April 16, 1978

Affirmed remained on course for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) with a win in the April 16 Hollywood Derby (gr. I). Although it came on the front end, the victory wasn't all that impressive.

"Despite Affirmed's unblemished record in the West, if a consensus now were taken in Southern California about the eventual Kentucky Derby winner, the nod probably would go to Alydar," wrote The Blood-Horse's Robert Hebert. "The reason is that Affirmed has looked positively great in some races and less than great in others.

"In the Hollywood Derby, he looked less than great. It was a race that he won on class, not brilliance."

What gave Hebert cause for concern was that jockey Steve Cauthen went to the whip a dozen times down the stretch and managed just a two-length win over longshot Think Snow.

Trainer Laz Barrera wasn't a bit worried. "I know what I've got and I know what Affirmed can do," he said. "Affirmed had plenty left."

Affirmed later left for Louisville and his showdown with Alydar.