The greatest rivalry in modern Thoroughbred racing history began with little fanfare on June 15, 1977. The more experienced Affirmed defeated Alydar, who was making his racing debut in the Youthful Stakes at Belmont Park. In nine subsequent meetings, Affirmed got the better of Alydar six times, often by just inches. Their meetings, especially during the Triple Crown season of 1978, became the stuff of racing lore. Affirmed claimed the Triple Crown, but Alydar tested him to the limits each time in stirring stretch drives that left onlookers limp. Indeed, many racing historians consider their Belmont Stakes to be the greatest race of the twentieth century. Author Timothy Capps, who witnessed many of the Affirmed–Alydar races, chronicles their early years, first encounters, and epic clashes. He also tells the stories of the people who raised, trained, and rode these titans.
Timothy T. Capps (1946–2017) was involved in nearly every aspect of the Thoroughbred industry. During the 1970s and mid-80s, Capps served as editor of The Thoroughbred Record, a leading industry monthly. In the mid-80s he ventured into the high-stakes stallion market as an executive with Matchmaker, a company that sold stallion seasons and shares.
From there he was lured to the racetrack and went to the Maryland Jockey Club, which oversees racing at Pimlico and Laurel Park. After serving as vice president of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and editor and publisher of MidAtlantic Thoroughbred, Capps returned to the Maryland Jockey Club as executive vice president.
Capps was the author of two other titles in the Thoroughbred Legends series, one on Spectacular Bid and one on Secretariat. He resided in Columbia, Maryland.