For millions of horse racing lovers, watching “I’ll Have Another” back out of the recent Belmont Stakes due to injury was heartbreaking. Chances of a Triple Crown winner were once again dashed after the amazing horse had won the first two legs, only to shatter hopes and dreams for the final and grab the crown.
Which makes Affirmed: The Last Triple Crown Winner all the more an exciting and hopeful read. Affirmed won the last crown in 1978 and did so at the height of racing, when great horses were everywhere, often running against each other in breathtaking duels. Author and sports expert Lou Sahadi perfectly captures the spirit of the greatest duel of all: Affirmed versus Alydar, a duel that captivated millions of people over and over again, culminating in Affirmed’s rise to Triple Crown royalty.
This is more than just a book about the rise of a great racehorse and the lives of all those involved in making him great. It’s a book about the inside track of racing that brings to life the trials and tribulations, passions and heartbreaks involved for owners, trainers, jockeys and racegoers alike. It’s a story of sheer athleticism—albeit the kind that comes on four legs—and the extent people will go to in order to achieve the kind of greatness at a sport that does not come around often.
But when it does, as in the duels between two legends like Affirmed and Alydar, it is unforgettable. From the boy jockey Steve Cauthen, who wrote the foreword, to the challenges determined owner Louis Wolfson faced, to the rags-to-riches story of trainer Lazaro Barrera, to the story of the horse himself, this book is a page-turning ride of a lifetime that allows us to become more than just a horse racing fan. We get to feel the thrills, the disappointments, the hopes and the fears... and the glory that comes from winning and losing. Especially winning.
Maybe next year we will see our first Triple Crown winner in 39 years. But until then, riders up and get on board the story of the last one—a legend on four legs who stole the hearts of millions and lives on in the halls of horse-racing greatness.