He was lionhearted, unwavering in his determination and unwilling to concede.
Time and time again he stalked The Crown like a jungle king stalking his prey, always aware of the competition but steadfast in his pursuit of victory. His copper cloak draped layer over layer of muscle that was always ready to fire, to pounce, to defend his position as the patriarch of this pride. He had the heart of a lion and a fire in his eyes as he rolled in to the thunder, the cacophonous storm of cheer that crescendoed the moment he took his crown and affirmed his title.
Yet he was also lamblike, yielding in the quieter moments to his soft side.
From his days as a foal, head limp and cradle in a lap, as the first buds of spring attracted the butterflies to settle nearby, to his days as a king – gentlemanly and cordial, bleating to his beloveds – displaying the kindness in his soul. He had the heart of a lamb and a compassion in his core that came through in the moments between his battles. He had a side to him that was as fragile as a flower slowly revealing itself in the warm spring sun, balanced on the edge of a branch budding with new life nourished by the torrents that accompany the change of seasons.
May this March come in like a lion and go out like a lamb, revealing the newest life to spring forth on the Derby Trail. Could the next Affirmed be lying in wait?
Affirmed’s story “The Lion and the Lamb” coming to the soon to be released Thoroughbred Insider smart phone app.
A special “Thank You” to the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association for the artwork for this story.