Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing’s Greatest Rivalry


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From the moment they first galloped head-to-head in Saratoga Springs, the two chestnut colts showed they were the stuff of racing legend. Alydar, all muscle with a fearsome closing kick, was already the popular favorite to win the Kentucky Derby. Affirmed, deceptively laid-back streamlined elegance, was powered forward by his steely determination not to settle for second place.

In the Sport of Kings, the Triple Crown is the most valued prize, requiring a horse to win not just one race, but three: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. And 1978 would not be just for the record books, but also one of the greatest dramas ever played out in the racing world.

There were names to conjure with, worthy of the Sport of Kings. The bloodline of Native Dancer. The teen wonderboy jockey Steve Cauthen. The once unbeatable Calumet Farm—the Damn Yankees of the racing world—now in eclipse and hoping for a comeback. The newcomer Harbor View Farm—owned by brash financier Louis Wolfson, who wouldn’t let even a conviction and a prison sentence for securities violations stand in the way of his dreams of glory. And the racetracks themselves: Belmont, Saratoga, Pimlico. And, of course, Churchill Downs.

It has been thirty-five years since Affirmed and Alydar fought for the Triple Crown, thirty-five years when no other horse has won it. Duel for the Crown brings this epic battle to life. Not just two magnificent Thoroughbreds but the colorful human personalities surrounding them, caught up in an ever-intensifying battle of will and wits that lasted until the photo finish of the final Triple Crown race . . . and Alydar and Affirmed leaped into the history books.

 


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3 thoughts on “Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing’s Greatest Rivalry

  1. Excellent! Anyone who pays attention to throughbred racing or just the Triple Crown are well aware of the famous battle of two great horses, Alydar and Affirned. Even starting this book knowing the outcome, I was riveted by the history between these two stars and their human connections. The authors filled in the background to one of the most exciting rivalry’s in horse racing that came to a final head at Belmont Park. This book is a must read for racing fans but also anyone who likes to read about a well…

  2. Horse Lover Or Not….A Page Turner You Can’t Put Down I can’t say enough good things about this new work. Having been a long-time fan of horse racing history, I thought I knew quite a bit about the rivalry between Affirmed and Alydar. After reading this inside story though, I found I truly knew very little. I especially enjoyed the back stories, not only of the horses and their ancestors, but also of the people who bred and owned them. I have been fortunate to visit not only Calumet but also the Horse Museum at the Kentucky Horse Park,…

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