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Affirmed Vs. Alydar: 1978 Belmont Stakes -- Greatest Race Of Horse Racing's Greatest Rivalry

Earlier this week I wrote about my disappointment in the fact that Bodemeister, runner-up to I’ll Have Another in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, won’t be in the Belmont Stakes field June 9 when I’ll Have Another tries to become horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner in 34 years.

To understand the disappointment, all you have to do is look back at that 1978 Triple Crown. Affirmed vs. Alydar. The greatest rivalry ever between two horses. Affirmed won the Triple Crown, but you can’t think of Affirmed without thinking of Alydar, his chief rival. Affirmed bested Alydar in all three Triple Crown races. Below, a look at that 1978 Belmont Stakes, a race called “one of the greatest showdowns in racing history.”

Affirmed – 1978 Belmont Stakes (via cf1970)

We have seen nothing like Affirmed vs. Alydar since. I’ll Have Another vs. Bodemeister showed the promise of being that type of epic rivalry, with the way I’ll Have Another race down Bodemeister to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown. We won’t, however, get to see it.

VIDEO: The Jockeys Remember The Rivalry

Instead, let’s remember Affirmed vs. Alydar. They met 10 times, six as two-year-olds, with Affirmed winning seven of the 10 meetings. Alydar placed second in all three Triple Crown races. We may never see a pair of horses like this again.