Her sire is Affirmed, who won the most famous three-race series of them all. A year after Affirmed's death, Affluent is one victory away from a sweep that is even rarer than winning horse racing's Triple Crown.
In 1978, Affirmed became the 11th--and last--horse to sweep the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. Affluent, winner of Sunday's $150,000 El Encino Stakes, needs a win in the La Canada on Feb. 9 to win Santa Anita's series for 4-year-old fillies, which has been swept only twice before. The only other fillies to win the La Brea, El Encino and La Canada were Taisez Vou in 1978--Affirmed's Triple Crown year--and Mitterand in 1985.
Affluent won the La Brea by 11/2 lengths over Royally Chosen three weeks ago, but her winning margin over the same rival was much closer Sunday. The nose decision was the closest El Encino outcome in 20 years. In a ding-dong battle over the final eighth of a mile, Eddie Delahoussaye was able to shoehorn Affluent through on the rail. Only the courage of the jockey and the athleticism of the horse got the chestnut filly to the wire without bouncing off the fence.
Royally Chosen, in front all the way, had a one-length lead on Affluent at the eighth pole. On the outside, Alex Solis whipped Royally Chosen right-handed and made the inside path as legally uncomfortable as he could for Affluent and Delahoussaye.