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1978 Triple Crown Trophy Awarded to Trainer of Affirmed



 
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The Triple Crown Trophy is very distinctive and made of silver by Cartier Jewelry Company and created by a French architect.  The Triple Crown trophy has come to represent the pinnacle achievement in horse racing.  Commissioned in 1950 by the Thoroughbred Racing Association, artisans at the world-famous Cartier Jewelry Company were charged with creating more than a trophy, but a true work of art.  The result was a three-sided vase, each face equally representing the three jewels of the crown, and beautifully capturing the spirit of horse racing's most sought after, and rarest, honor.  The three sides are engraved with specific information from each of the three races; the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.  Upon completion of the first trophy it was awarded to the 1948 Triple Crown Winner Citation.  Each year thereafter, retroactive trophies were presented to the first eight winners of the Triple Crown in reverse order until all of the previous winners or their heirs were awarded.  Today the Triple Crown Trophy is a permanent trophy awarded to the winner with information pertaining to each race engraved on corresponding sides.  When not on tour during the live running of the royal trio of races, the trophy is on public display at the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, Kentucky.  The trophy that presently travels to these races is the new trophy with no horses name on it until it’s won again.  More importantly, only three colts have been awarded all four trophies in the same year, Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), and Affirmed (1978).  The Triple Crown Trophy has been awarded to only 12 horses since the race began. Sir Barton (1919), Galant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), and American Pharaoh (2015).  Prior to this year, the last time the Triple Crown had been won was 37 years ago.  After many conversations with Cartier Jewelry Company, The Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs and other experts in the industry, research shows that there are two trophies in existence for the horse AFFIRMED.  One trophy was awarded to the owner of the horse, Patrice Wolfson, and the other trophy was awarded to the horse’s trainer, Lazaro Sosa Barrera.  What makes this trophy so attractive is the back-story of this Racing Hall Of Fame trainer, Lazlo Barrera.  Barrera was a Cuban-born American Hall of Fame thoroughbred racehorse trainer. Born in Havana, "Laz" Barrera was one of nine brothers who went on to become involved in thoroughbred horse racing in the United States.  While in his teens, he began working at a racetrack in his native Cuba and within a few years was one of the country's most respected young trainers.  Seeking increased opportunities in a larger market, in the 1940s Barrera moved to Mexico to race horses at the Hipodromo de las Americas in Mexico City.  There, he met California-based trainer Hal King, who encouraged him to come to the United States.  Barrera did, and in 1971 trained his first American Stakes race winner. In the ensuing years he built a solid reputation and in late 1975 was given Bold Forbes to train that had been that year's Puerto Rican two-year-old thoroughbred sprint champion.  Racing in the U.S. in 1976 under jockey Angel Cordero, Jr., Bold Forbes won several important races for Barrera including the Wood Memorial Stakes in record time.  He went on to win the most prestigious race of all, the Kentucky Derby, finished third in the Preakness Stakes and, for a converted sprinter, pulled off a dramatic win in the 1½ mile long Belmont Stakes.  Barrera's accomplishments led to an offer from Louis & Patrice Wolfson to take over as head trainer for their Harbor View Farm in Ocala, Marion County, Florida.  There, Barrera took charge of a horse named Affirmed who, under 18-year-old jockey Steve Cauthen, would become one of the great horses in American racing history.  Affirmed was a two-time Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year winner and won Eclipse Awards in each of the three years he raced.  Laz Barrera won fourteen Grade 1 Stakes races with Affirmed, the most by any stallion in history, and earned racing immortality by capturing the 1978 U.S. Triple Crown, the last horse to do so. Since then, one trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, has won all three of the Triple Crown races, in 1995 when he trained two horses (Thunder Gulch and Timber Country) for his sweep.  But since the 1995 Triple Crown races were not won with the same horse, he is not recognized as a Triple Crown winner.  In a career that lasted almost fifty years, Laz Barrera trained six champions and more than 140 American Stakes race winners.  He was the leading money-winning trainer from 1977 to 1980 and in the process became the only trainer to ever win four consecutive Eclipse Awards.  In 1979, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.  Laz Barrera died in 1991.  The Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes a Grade II seven furlong race for 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park Racetrack is named in his honor.  Barrera won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer from 1976-79 and led the nation in earnings 1977-80.  He won 2,269 races in his career and had purse earnings of $49,932,176.  The trophy is silver and has the stampings on the bottom of the base to prove its authenticity by the Cartier Jewelry Company.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to obtain such an iconic piece of memorabilia.  A true conversation piece that will excite any horse-racing fan instantaneously.  An item that honestly belongs in a museum rather than private hands or in a palace that can display it as a true center piece.  AFFIRMED, Triple Crown winner was foaled in 1975.  A champion in each of his racing seasons, Affirmed was bred in Florida by Lou Wolfson and carried his colors to Horse of the Year honors in 1978 and '79 with Laz Barrera as trainer.  Affirmed's 2 and 3-year-old seasons were dominated by neck and neck competition with Calumet colt, Alydar.  Their conflict was decided when Affirmed earned Triple Crown honors in 1978, an event which also brought teen jockey, Steve Cauthen, to prominence.  As a 2-year-old Affirmed lost the Great American Stakes to Alydar, beat him by a half-length in the Hopeful, and by a nose in the Belmont Futurity, but lost to him by 1 3/4 lengths in the Champagne Stakes.  Recovering from his loss, Affirmed defeated Alydar in the Laurel Futurity.  As the leading stakes earner of 1978, Affirmed won eight consecutive races at 3, including the Triple Crown. Affirmed was the eleventh winner of this prestigious series.  Trophy was recently cleaned and polished by Cartier.  Cartier has appraised this piece of history for over $1,000,000.00.

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