40-Years ago, the magnificent Sensitive Prince turned for home in the Jim Dandy with a 5 length lead over the 12th Triple Crown winner, AFFIRMED. Affirmed had just defeated Alydar in the toughest most grueling race I have ever seen, but many measures. And by all rights, was well within his rights to take a nice easy tour of the Saratoga oval – a horses way of mailing it in. But Affirmed would have none of that, he lifted his legs to reach for ground, he took the 5 lengths and the 3/16th of a mile remaining as a personal challenge to his own supremacy and stretched his body with every stride. And while Sensitive Prince may have stood a hand taller, Affirmed new how to extend his body in length, like none I have ever seen.
In the final 50 yards, Affirmed went by Sensitive Prince and it was unimportant what was probably miles behind these two. Just as a reference, Sensitive Prince set track records in his career at distances. But having the race entirely his own way, and a bias that state speed horses would prevail, Affirmed climbed what I would can “another mountain”, to prevail.
And so the Jim Dandy is not just another Prep to me, because it has served to highlight the measure of a champions champion – the Unbelievable, The Indefatigueable, The Irrepressible champions heart that we saw in Affirmed and probably have not seen since (except maybe in Personal Ensign). But let’s be real, until this season with Justify, we haven’t seen anything like the great Affirmed. And The Jim Dandy, was a stage that demonstrated what a champion really and truly is all about!