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Seattle Slew

Seattle Slew.jpg

Seattle Slew, Jean Cruguet up (Richard Stone Reeves)
Seattle Slew
Induction Year: 
Ben S. Castleman
Tayhill Stable
William H. Turner, Jr.; Douglas Peterson
Bold Reasoning
My Charmer
Career Years: 

Tab Wrapper


America’s 10th Triple Crown winner and the first to complete the series with an undefeated career record, Seattle Slew was Horse of the Year in 1977 and an Eclipse Award winner in each of his three years on the racetrack.


Bred in Kentucky by Ben Castelman, Seattle Slew was a dark bay son of Bold Reasoning out of the Poker mare My Charmer. Mickey and Karen Taylor, in partnership with Dr. Jim and Sally Hill, bought Seattle Slew for $17,500 at the 1975 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale. Dr. Hill, a veterinarian, picked out the colt.


Seattle Slew was turned over to young trainer Billy Turner, whose wife, Paula, had broken the colt at Mrs. Henry Obre’s farm near Monkton, Md. Seattle Slew made his career debut with a five-length victory under jockey Jean Cruguet at Belmont Park on Sept. 20, 1977. Two weeks later, he led all the way in winning a seven-furlong allowance event at Belmont.


In his staked debut, Seattle Slew romped by 9¾ lengths in the Champagne Stakes in his third career start. He covered the mile distance in 1:34⅖, breaking the stakes record. He was named the Eclipse Award winner for Champion 2-Year-Old Male.


In his 3-year-old debut, Seattle Slew set a track record for seven furlongs at Hialeah in a nine-length win/He then won the Flamingo Stakes and Wood Memorial to enter the Kentucky Derby undefeated in six starts. As the 1-2 favorite in the Derby, Seattle Slew caught early pacesetter For The Moment and pulled away at the top of the stretch to win by 1¾ lengths with Run Dusty Run finishing second.


The 2-5 favorite in the Preakness, Seattle Slew put away Cormorant around the far turn and went on to win by 1½lengths with Iron Constitution in second. Again 2-5 in the Belmont, Seattle Slew went right to the lead and made it look easy, winning by four lengths over Run Dusty Run to become the first undefeated Triple Crown winner.


Instead of getting some time off, Seattle Slew was shipped to California for the July 3 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park. Seattle Slew was flat and suffered his first career loss, finishing 16 lengths behind J. O. Tobin. The Swaps was the final start of the year for Seattle Slew, who was named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Male.


Turner was replaced as Seattle Slew’s trainer in December of 1977 by Doug Peterson. As a 4-year-old, Seattle Slew began his campaign with allowance victories at Aqueduct and Saratoga before being beaten a neck by Dr. Patches in the Paterson Handicap at the Meadowlands. Cruguet, who had been critical of the horse’s training regimen, was then replaced by Angel Cordero, Jr.


With Cordero now on board, Seattle Slew met Affirmed in the Marlboro Cup Handicap at Belmont in September of 1978. It was the first meeting of Triple Crown winners. Affirmed was favored at 1-2, but Seattle Slew won easily by three lengths. Seattle Slew next won the Woodward Stakes in track-record time, covering the 1¼ miles in 2:00 with Exceller second.


Seattle Slew and Affirmed met again in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but in the end it was Exceller defeating Seattle Slew by a nose. Seattle Slew raced once more, closing out his career with a victory in the Stuyvesant Handicap at Aqueduct to finish with a record of 14-2-0 from 17 starts and earnings of $1,208,726. He was voted Champion Older Male and sent off to stud at Spendthrift Farm in 1979.


In his first crop, Seattle Slew sired future Hall of Famer Slew o’ Gold, as well as Grade 1 winners Landaluce, Adored and Sleepy. Seattle Slew’s second crop included 1984 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Swale. Other champions sired by Seattle Slew included Hall of Famer A.P. Indy, Capote, Surfside and Vindication, as well as international standouts Digression and Tomahawk. Seattle Slew was the leading freshman sire in 1982 and topped the general sire list two years later.


Seattle Slew died in 2002 at the age of 28 at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm. He had spent the previous 17 years at Three Chimneys Farm after being moved from Spendthrift in 1985.