Affirmed at Santa Anita

Affirmed at Santa Anita

Vic Stein/Santa Anita

On This Day...

March 18, 1978
Affirmed in the San Felipe Handicap

With arch rival Alydar in Florida, Affirmed figured to have an easy time of it in California leading up to the 1978 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).

Affirmed, the previous year's champion 2-year-old male, got off to a good start with a five-length allowance win under teenage sensation Steve Cauthen at Santa Anita. Ten days later in the March 18 San Felipe Handicap (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles, he overcame problems of his own doing to win by two lengths under Cauthen carrying 126 pounds.

"Some press box observers were not impressed. They felt that Affirmed should have won by a much wider margin, and they pointed to the time--1:42 3/5--but time means little; the speed of the track has wavered so much this year," wrote The Blood-Horse's Robert Hebert. "Affirmed, in this reporter's opinion, proved himself to be a colt with style and much spirit. He is lovely to look at, perfectly made in every way, and a joy to watch in action."

At Hialeah, Alydar was two for two after winning an allowance race and the March 4 Flamingo Stakes (gr. I). Each colt would race twice more before their big showdown at Churchill Downs.

Click here to read more about this Thoroughbred Legend in Affirmed and Alydar -- available now from