Alydar made his debut on the racetrack on June 15, 1977 in the Youthful at Belmont. He finished fifth that day to a horse named Affirmed. This began one of the most legendary rivalries in the history of sports.

After winning a maiden race, Alydar met Affirmed again in the Great American on July 6th at Belmont. This time Alydar won impressively, defeating Affirmed by 3½ lengths. Next for Alydar was the Tremont on July 27th at Belmont, where he defeated Believe It for his second stakes victory. Alydar then ventured to Monmouth Park, easily winning the Sapling Stakes.

Alydar met up with Affirmed again in the Hopeful, the definitive stakes race for two year olds at Saratoga, with Affirmed winning by a half length. Two weeks later in the Futurity at Belmont, it was closer, but Affirmed won by a nose. Five weeks later in the Champagne, the definitive stakes race for two year olds at Belmont, Alydar got his revenge as he flew passed Affirmed in the stretch to win by a length and a quarter.

Two weeks later, Alydar would meet Affirmed for the sixth and final time that year in the race that would decide the champion two year old of 1977. The race was the Laurel Futurity, Laurel Park's signature race for two year olds. At 1 1/16 miles, it would be the longest race in the short careers of Alydar and Affirmed and the first time either one has gone two turns in a race. Fresh off the Champagne victory, Alydar was bet down to 2-5 with Affirmed at 7-5. The two dominated once again, but with Affirmed outrunning Alydar by a neck at the finish. In the field of six, the third finisher, Star de Naskra was 10 lengths further back, and the fourth finisher, Argento, was another 27 length behind that.

Alydar's final race of 1977 would be in the Remson Stakes, Aqueduct's top race for two year olds. Racing at 1 1/8 miles for the first time, Alydar sat far off the early pace set by Believe It. Alydar then made a big move down the stretch, but fell short by two lengths of catching Believe It, who ran a huge race and set a new stakes record in the process.

In 1978, Alydar began his season at Hialeah Park in Florida with a 2 length win in a 7 furlong allowance race. Alydar followed three weeks later with a 4½ length win in the Flamingo Stakes over the same racetrack. Next, in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, Alydar avenged his defeat in the Remsen by beating Believe It by 2 lengths.

Alydar's final prep race before renewing his rivalry with Affirmed in the Kentucky Derby came in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. Running against eight other three year olds that did not include any of the top Kentucky Derby contenders, the race amounted to little more than a public workout for Alydar. Alydar settled in the back of the field, remained in sixth after half a mile, then accelerated around the far turn to go after loose leader Raymond Earl, who had opened up a six length lead on the field. Alydar went by easily and proceeded to win by 13 lengths.

The 1978 Triple Crown series produced some of the greatest racing in the history of the sport. In the 1978 Kentucky Derby, Alydar was made the favorite at 6-5 while Affirmed, who had prepared for the race with victories in the Santa Anita Derby and the Hollywood Derby, was the second choice at 9-5. At the beginning stages of race, Alydar dropped far back in the pack, while Affirmed briefly contested the lead, then eased off to take a stalking position behind the swiftly contested pace. Entering the far turn, Affirmed started to make his move and by the top of the stretch, Affirmed had surged to the lead and assumed a commanding position with only Believe It offering a serious challenge. Alydar made up a lot of ground down the stretch with a strong late run to pass Believe It, but fell short of catching Affirmed by 1½ lengths.

In the 1978 Preakness, Alydar stayed closer to the pace, making his move on the far turn to draw alongside Affirmed entering the stretch. The two raced together through the entire stretch of the Preakness, but Alydar was unable to catch Affirmed, this time falling short by a neck. The third place horse was again Believe It, who was almost 8 lengths behind the top two.

The 1978 Belmont Stakes was one of the most exciting races of all time. Without Believe It in the field, the Belmont Stakes figured to be a virtual match race between Affirmed and Alydar and was run like one. After Affirmed took the early lead and set a slow 25 second first quarter, Alydar made his move to come within a length of Affirmed before a half mile was run in this 1½ mile marathon. The two raced together from there all the way to the wire, with Alydar appearing destined to pass Affirmed for the entire length of the stretch run. However, Affirmed came on again right at the finish to prevail by a head. Alydar had failed to become Thoroughbred racing's eleventh Triple Crown winner by a total of less than 2 lengths.

After a little time off, Alydar ran in the Arlington Classic and won impressively by 13 lengths. Two weeks later, he won the Whitney Stakes at Saratoga by 10 lengths. In both races, Alydar unleashed powerful stretch runs to distance himself from the competition. The rematch with Affirmed in the 1978 Travers turned out to be anticlimactic. With a record crowd of 50,122 on hand, the race was starting to develop with everyone anticipating another exciting finish reminiscent of the Belmont Stakes. Unfortunately, some questionable rider tactics turned the race into controversy instead. In what turned out to be their tenth and final meeting with each other on the racetrack, Alydar finished behind Affirmed by 1¾ lengths, but was placed first after Affirmed was disqualified for interference with Alydar on the far turn.

Alydar sustained a cut on his front foreleg from the incident in the Travers. While training for the Marlboro Cup for another potential rematch versus Affirmed, Alydar suffered a fractured coffin bone in his left front foot, ending his season.

As a 4 year old in 1979, Alydar once again returned to action in Florida, easily winning an allowance race by 7 lengths. Alydar then traveled to Arkansas for the Oaklawn Handicap, where he was defeated by San Juan Hill by a nose. Next was a return to New York for the Carter Handicap, where he lost by a neck to Star de Naskra. Three weeks later in the Metropolitan Handicap, Alydar suffered his worst defeat as he came in 6th in a field of 9, losing to State Dinner by 12 lengths. Three weeks after that, Alydar finally won a stakes race as a four year old, winning the Nassau County Handicap by 3¾ lengths.

The Suburban Handicap on July 4, 1979 turned out to be the final race of Alydar's career. He finished third to State Dinner by 1¼ lengths. During preparation for the Brooklyn Handicap, he fractured a sesamoid bone in his right hind foot and on July 24, 1979, was retired to stud at Calumet Farms in Lexington, Kentucky.

Alydar was a major success as a stallion. His offspring include Alysheba, Easy Goer, Strike The Gold, Criminal Type, Turkoman, Althea, and Miss Oceana. Alydar also sired the dams of Lure, Cat Thief, Ajina, Peintre Celebre, Amilynx, Ishino Sunday, Wild Bluster, Mahogany, and Anees.

Alydar was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1989.

In the evening of November 13, 1990, Alydar allegedly kicked his stall door so hard that he broke a bone in his right hind leg. Emergency surgery was performed the next day to set the bone in a cast, but the following morning, Alydar stumbled on the leg and fell, causing a second bone to break. The second break was deemed to be unrepairable. At roughly 8:30 AM on that morning of November 15, 1990, Alydar was put to death by lethal injection.

At the time of Alydar's sudden death, Calumet Farms had severe financial difficulties and was on the verge of bankruptcy. Considering that Alydar had insurance policies worth $36.5 million, many have found it hard to believe that his death was an accident. However, proving it in court is another matter. To this day, no one has been punished for Alydar's death, although the principals involved have been tried and convicted of various other crimes linked to the eventual demise of Calumet Farms. See The Killing of Alydar, Blood Money, Alydar's Groom Convicted, and Calumet Farm Execs Sent to Prison for more information.


Credits: The picture and some of the background information on Alydar's career are from the Calumet Farms section of the International Museum of the Horse.

 chestnut colt
 DP: 21-8-9-4-0
 DI: 3.94
 CD: 1.10
Raise A Native
Native Dancer
Polynesian, 1942Unbreakable, 1935
Black Polly, 1936
Geisha, 1943Discovery, 1931
Miyako, 1935
Raise You
Case Ace, 1934Teddy, 1913
Sweetheart, 1920
Lady Glory, 1934American Flag, 1922
Beloved, 1927
Sweet Tooth
On And On
Nasrullah, 1940Nearco, 1935
Mumtaz Begum, 1932
Two Lea, 1946Bull Lea, 1935
Two Bob, 1933
Plum Cake
Ponder, 1946Pensive, 1941
Miss Rushin, 1942
Real Delight, 1949Bull Lea, 1935
Blue Delight, 1938
6/15/1977 Belmont youtube Youthful Stakes 5 5 (11) Affirmed, Wood Native, Sensitive Nose
6/24/1977 Belmont maiden 1 (10) Alydar, Believe It, Sauce Boat
7/6/1977 Belmont youtube Great American Stakes 1 (7) Alydar, Affirmed, Going Investor
7/27/1977 Belmont Tremont Stakes 1 (5) Alydar, Believe It, Jet Diplomacy
8/13/1977 Monmouth Sapling Stakes 1 (5) Alydar, Noon Time Spender, Dominant Ruler
8/27/1977 Saratoga youtube Hopeful Stakes 2 ½ (5) Affirmed, Alydar, Regal And Royal
9/10/1977 Belmont youtube Futurity Stakes 2 no (5) Affirmed, Alydar, Nasty And Bold
10/15/1977 Belmont youtube Champagne Stakes 1 (6) Alydar, Affirmed, Darby Creek Road
10/29/1977 Laurel youtube Laurel Futurity 2 nk (4) Affirmed, Alydar, Star De Naskra
11/26/1977 Aqueduct Remsen Stakes 2 2 (5) Believe It, Alydar, Quadratic
2/11/1978 Hialeah allowance 1 2 (8) Alydar, Noon Time Spender, L Voygeus
3/4/1978 Hialeah youtube Flamingo Stakes 1 (8) Alydar, Noon Time Spender, Dr. Valeri
4/1/1978 Gulfstream Florida Derby 1 2 (7) Alydar, Believe It, Dr. Valeri
4/27/1978 Keeneland youtube Blue Grass Stakes 1 13 (9) Alydar, Raymond Earl, Go Forth
5/6/1978 Churchill Downs chart youtube Kentucky Derby 2 (11) Affirmed, Alydar, Believe It
5/20/1978 Pimlico chart youtube Preakness Stakes 2 nk (7) Affirmed, Alydar, Believe It
6/10/1978 Belmont chart youtube Belmont Stakes 2 hd (5) Affirmed, Alydar, Darby Creek Road
7/22/1978 Arlington Arlington Classic 1 13 (5) Alydar, Chief Of Dixieland, Gordie H.
8/5/1978 Saratoga youtube Whitney Handicap 1 10 (9) Alydar, Buckaroo, Father Hogan
8/19/1978 Saratoga chart youtube Travers Stakes 2 (4) Affirmed, Alydar, Nasty And Bold 1st by dq
3/31/1979 Hialeah allowance 1 7 (6) Alydar, Fort Prevel, Jachal II
4/13/1979 Oaklawn Oaklawn Handicap 2 no (7) San Juan Hill, Alydar, A Letter To Harry
5/5/1979 Aqueduct Carter Handicap 2 nk (6) Star De Naskra, Alydar, Sensitive Prince
5/28/1979 Belmont Metropolitan Handicap 6 12 (9) State Dinner, Dr. Patches, Sorry Lookin
6/17/1979 Belmont Nassau County Handicap 1 (3) Alydar, Nasty And Bold, Sorry Lookin
7/4/1979 Belmont Suburban Handicap 3 (5) State Dinner, Mr. Brea, Alydar

Fun Facts


Additional Resources: