Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

"Unbridled Greed"


To those in the blueblooded world of thoroughbred horse racing, the name is legendary. During his racing days in the late 1970s, the chestnut stallion earned nearly a million dollars in prize money. The Blood-Horse magazine, the sport's leading publication, ranked Alydar 27th on its list of the top 100 racehorses of the 20th century. In 1989, he was inducted into thoroughbred racing's National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

Alydar (left) and Affirmed vie for first place at the Tripple Crown
Alydar (left) and Affirmed vie for first
place at the Tripple Crown

Alydar won 14 of his 26 starts and placed second in nine races, but was ironically more famous for three of his second place finishes than any of his wins. In the 1978 campaign for racing's Triple Crown, Alydar finished a close second, behind his great rival Affirmed, in all three races, the most closely fought duels in the history of the Triple Crown.

The battle between Alydar and Affirmed has been called the greatest in horse racing history. Writer Skip Hollandsworth described the 1978 Belmont Stakes, the final race in the Triple Crown, this way in an article for the magazine Texas Monthly: "They literally raced side by side, eyeball to eyeball, their hooves pounding like cannon fire as they hit the home stretch. In their fight to the finish at Belmont, they ran dead even for the final seven furlongs."

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