Czaravich simply didn't have enough seasoning to compete in the Derby and Preakness, and Turner set his sights on winning the Belmont. But two weeks before the Belmont, Czaravich contracted a virus and was unable to run in the Peter Pan, a race in which he would have been the odds-on favorite over Coastal. Coastal won the Peter Pan and then the Belmont, all of which tended to increase the Czaravich mystique. After being away from the races for nearly four months, Czaravich returned in early September and won the $109,300 Jerome Handicap by defeating Valdez, Barrera's top 3-year-old.
Before the Woodward, Turner said, "Well, I've got to try Affirmed. He's one of the finest horses that has ever run, but it's time for Czaravich to go after the heavy heads. I'm not going to say I can beat him, but we'll make it a horse race."
For a mile Czaravich made the Woodward a most interesting race, even though he had never before competed over a sloppy track. Approaching the top of the stretch, it looked as if Czaravich might indeed be able to prevail, but he drifted out a bit and Affirmed came roaring up inside of him. As Affirmed pulled away, Czaravich seemed to labor as if he didn't really care all that much for the track condition. "It's far from a disgrace to finish third to Affirmed," Turner said. "Affirmed is a great racehorse. His trainer isn't too bad, either."
On Oct. 6, Affirmed will meet Spectacular Bid in the $350,000, 1�-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup, with Affirmed carrying 126 pounds and Spectacular Bid 121. Both Affirmed and Spectacular Bid now can lay just claim to being Horse of the Year, and until they finally meet, the bees will indeed be buzzin'.