Seattle Slew was purchased for the bargain price of $17,500 by Mickey Taylor
for his wife Karen.
He trained in Maryland, and there was nicknamed "Baby Huey" after
a clumsy cartoon character. He began his career in New York, where he won
his first two starts, and was then entered in the Champagne Stakes. He
grabbed the lead, and drew off to a nine and 3/4 length victory in time which
was the fastest mile ever run by a two year old. After those three starts,
he was turned out for the winter, and named champion 2yo colt.
Seattle Slew's next start was in March, in a Hialeah 7 furlong allowance race,
which he won by 9 lengths. Then he was entered in the first major race for
sophomores - the Flamingo Stakes. As usual, he shot to the front, and by the
time he had reached the far turn, he was leading by ten lengths. Jockey Jean
Cruget didn't wish to use up the colt in prep races, so he slowed Seattle Slew
down and won by 4 lengths. Even so, the time was the third fastest running
of the Flamingo Stakes in its history.
He reappeared a month later in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. Just as before,
he opened a 6 length lead, by Cruget eased him to win by 3 1/4 lengths. To
date, every race he had entered had been an easy romp, and understandably,
he was a huge favorite to win the Kentucky Derby. The bettors hammered his
odds down to 50 cents on the dollar.
Although greatly washed out in the paddock, Seattle Slew
kept his wits about him. He would need them for the start. The gates
opened and Slew emerged off
balance. He swerved to the right, colliding with Get The Axe, and bumped
almost sideways. But he kept his feet, and straightened himself out.
behind was something Seattle Slew was not accustomed to. He charged into
a wall of horses, comprised of Flag Officer, Bob's Dusty and Affiliate,
his way through, and after a quarter mile found himself in second place behind
For The Moment. The pair raced together swiftly through the opening fractions.
The first half mile was run in :45 4/5, and at the mile post, Seattle Slew
finally assumed command. He was leading by three in the homestretch, but
was confident enough to allow the margin to narrow to 1 3/4 lengths at
Run Dusty Run was second, Sanhedrin was third (see
The Preakness saw a much better start. He came out clear and unobstructed.
Cormorant took the lead, but Seattle Slew pressed in second place. The pair
set a blistering pace, running the first mile in 1:34 4/5, the fastest first
mile ever run in the race. In the homestretch, Seattle Slew took over, drawing
out to 3 lengths, but as before, eased to a 1 1/2 length victory. Iron Constitution
and Run Dusty Run followed. The final time of 1:54 2/5 was the second fastest
Preakness ever, if one goes by the "official" time and assumes
Secretariat's time of 1:55 was correct.
The Belmont Stakes marked the first time Seattle Slew had ever run on a muddy
track, but it made little difference to him. He aassumed the lead early and
maintained it to the wire, winning by an easy 4 length margin. The pair chasing
him home were the same two from the Derby - Run Dusty Run and Sanhedrin.
Though his owners had promised to bring their star back to the races
at four, Slew developed a life-threatening virus in January. By mid-February
been syndicated for $12 million and there was talk of retiring the horse
to stud. But it was decided, as Taylor said, that since Racing has been
good to us. We would like to do something good for racing. The fans
would be forever grateful for the Taylors sportsmanlike gesture.
In August of his 4 year-old campaign, came the Marlboro Cup. That race would
mark the first ever meeting between two Triple Crown winners, since that year's
hero Affirmed was in the line up. The result was perfectly appropriate. The
elder crown-wearer Seattle Slew won by three lengths over the younger Affirmed.
And it was far back to the third place horse, Nasty and Bold.
Two weeks after that, he reappeared in the Woodward Stakes at Belmont, marking
the third time within that month that he had raced. But he won easily over
Exceller by 4 lengths. Then came the 1 1/2 miles of the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
The going was sloppy, and the racing would be fierce. Seattle Slew broke through
the gate, and after re-loading, Seattle Slew bounded out to the lead - but
Affirmed and Life's Hope went right with him. They blazed suicidal fractions,
speed not typically seen in a distance event. Around the first turn, Angel
Cordero lost his left iron. Then, Affirmed's saddle slipped loose, and he was
forced to ease up from the furious pace. (Affirmed would finish 5th in that
race, the only time that champion ever finished off the board.) As Affirmed
began to fade, the chase was picked up by Exceller. They turned into the stretch.
Exceller had wrested a half length lead over Seattle Slew, but Slew fought
back to return to Exceller's head. The pair crossed the line together, but
it was Exceller who was judged to be the winner. This stretch drive is still
recalled by many to be among the all-time best - right up there with Sunday
Silence and Easy Goer's Preakness.
Slew made one more start - the Stuyvesant Handicap at Aqueduct and won without
much effort by 3 1/4 lengths, despite carrying 134 lbs. Then he was retired
to stud where his estimated value had been placed at a record figure of $12,000,000.
Prominent offspring: Horse of the Year A.P. INDY, champions SLEW O'GOLD, SWALE,
CAPOTE, LANDALUCE, and DIGRESSION. Major stakes winners SLEW CITY SLEW, LIFE
AT THE TOP, LAKEWAY, TSUNAMI SLEW, ADORED, SLEWPY, TAIKI BLIZZARD, VINDICATION
and so many others.