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Old Foes, New Race
William Nack
June 08, 1987
Alydar and Affirmed, once fierce opponents, compete now in the breeding shed
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June 08, 1987

Old Foes, New Race

Alydar and Affirmed, once fierce opponents, compete now in the breeding shed

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Actually it's a pleasure to have them both. Neither of the horses has been much of a problem, though Alydar has a nasty streak that has Lundy stepping gingerly around him. "I swear that horse doesn't like me," Lundy complains. "He bit me one day and, I mean, left teeth marks. Every time he gets near me, he bites me."

Alydar was not like that in his racing days. His trainer, John Veitch, says the colt was a friendly youngster—intelligent, well behaved, good in company. There was something rugged and earthy about him, and that and his determined nature, despite narrow failures, made him the more popular of the two horses among racing fans. Affirmed ran with the precision of a timepiece and seemed much more the businessman out there. Alydar wore the hard hat, Affirmed the fedora.

Today, of the two, Alydar is generally the more aloof and difficult of the pair, and Affirmed the more tractable and sociable.

"Alydar will do things to please himself," says Paul Pryor, his groom. "He don't care. Affirmed can also be moody, but I think he tries harder to please people, though he can be a pain, too. Alydar is like a free spirit; Affirmed may be more conservative."

There was nothing conservative or subdued in the celebrations that began in Lexington moments after Alysheba won this year's Kentucky Derby. At Calumet, Lundy and two visitors peeled over to the stallion barn to congratulate Alydar. Meanwhile, down the road at Hamburg Place, where Preston Madden had bred and raised Alysheba, the big bell atop the water tower was tolling loudly across the land, just as it had tolled for the five Derby winners bred by Preston's grandfather, the legendary John E. Madden, in the first quarter of this century.

If Alysheba can finish avenging his father's Triple Crown defeats in Saturday's Belmont Stakes, the bells will be ringing again in Lexington.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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