Alydar (Alydar )

Alydar

Trained by John M. Veitch (who also trained Alydar’s half-sister, Eclipse Award winning Our Mims) and ridden by jockey Jorge Velásquez, in 1978 Alydar dueled with Affirmed in all three legs of the Triple Crown he lost to his arch-rival by a combined total of less than two lengths. The 1978 Belmont Stakes, the third (and final) leg of the series, is considered by many as one of the most exciting races in the history of the sport. In that race, Alydar and Affirmed dueled side-by-side from the middle of the far turn all the way to the wire, with Affirmed barely holding on to win by a head to claim the Triple Crown.

In his racing career Alydar won 14 of 26 starts, finishing second 9 times and third once, and earned purses totalling $957,195. He raced against Affirmed ten times in his career, winning three. Alydar was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1989. In the Blood-Horse magazine ranking of the top 100 U.S. thoroughbred champions of the 20th Century, Alydar was ranked #27.

Alydar was a major success as a stallion. His offspring include Hall of Fame Eclipse Award Champion Easy Goer; Alysheba, winner of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Classic; Turkoman, Strike the Gold, Criminal Type, Althea, Alydaress, Benchmark, Stella Madrid, and Miss Oceana. He is also the broodmare sire of Peintre Celebre, Cat Thief, Anees, Ajina, Aly’s Alley, Gio Ponti, and Lure.

On November 13, 1990, Alydar appeared to have shattered his right hind leg in his stall at Calumet Farms in Lexington, Kentucky. Emergency surgery was performed the next day in an attempt to repair the injury, but the leg broke again. On November 15, Alydar was euthanized. At the time the owner of Calumet Farm was in dire trouble financially, but suspicions of foul play by the management were not raised until federal prosecutors investigated in the late 1990s. John Thomas (J.T.) Lundy was indicted and convicted in 2000 on separate but related fraud charges – bribing a bank executive for favorable loans – and served nearly four years in prison. The farm’s former attorney, Gary Matthews, was also convicted and received a 21-month prison sentence. The Texas Monthly described Alydar’s death as “a sweeping saga of greed, fraud, and almost unimaginable cruelty that could have been lifted straight from a best-selling Dick Francis horse-racing novel. Alydar is buried at Calumet Farm.”

In Houston Federal Court, MIT Professor George Pratt testified that Alydar had to have been killed. He speculated that someone had tied the end of a rope around Alydar’s leg and attached the other end of the rope to a truck that could easily have been driven into the stallion barn. The truck then took off, pulling Alydar’s leg from underneath him until it snapped; he testified that the force involved was at least three times that which a horse was able to exert. About five days before Alydar’s injury his original night watchman, Harold “Cowboy” Kipp, testified that he was at work on the farm when he was ordered to take Tuesday, November 13 off.

 

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Born

  • March, 23, 1975
  • USA
  • Lexington, Kentucky

Died

  • November, 15, 1990
  • USA
  • Lexington, Kentucky

Cemetery

  • Calumet Farm Equine Cemetery
  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • USA

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