Friday, May 24, 2013

Seattle Slew: Four-Year-Old Season

 After recovery from a respiratory infection and a near-fatal virus, Seattle Slew returned to the track in winning condition. His previous trainer, Bill Turner, had been fired, so he had a new trainer: Doug Peterson. Slew won two allowance races in Saratoga and Aqueduct, then lost by a neck in Meadowlands' Paterson Handicap.

 Then came the season's highlight: Slew and Affirmed, the 1978 Triple Crown winner, were going to race in the Marlboro Cup. Not long before the race, Slew's jockey was changed from Jean Cruguet to Angel Cordero, Jr. when Cruguet commented that Slew wasn't ready for the Marlboro Cup. Despite the change, Slew defeated Affirmed by three lengths. 
Seattle Slew running in the Marlboro Cup(credit).

 After that, Slew led from start to finish in the Woodward Stakes, defeating Exceller and It's Freezing by four lengths in track record time of 2:00. 

 Then came one of the greatest races of his career. In the Jockey Club Gold Cup, he battled Affirmed early on in the race, but failed to win, losing to Exceller by a nose. Affirmed was boxed in and ran fourth. Because of his victory, Exceller became the first and only horse to defeat two Triple Crown winners.

 In the Stuyvesent Handicap, his final race, Slew led from start to finish, winning by three and a quarter lengths. He was then retired. By then, he had won fourteen out of seventeen races and had earned $1,208,726. After he was bought for twelve million dollars as a stud horse with a fee reaching $100,000 dollars, he became an excellent stud horse with many notable offspring.

 Among his best is Swale, the 1984 Three-Year-Old Champion Colt. As a two-year-old, though, he stood in the shadow of his stablemate, Devil's Bag. Both were trained by Woody Stephens. While Devil's Bag was hailed as a wonder horse, Swale was just considered "Stephens' other horse." However, things changed when Devil's Bag retired due to a hairline fracture. Swale became the Derby's top contender. 

 The favorites were Althea and Life's Magic, two fillies trained by D. Wayne Lucas. Swale won then Derby by three and three-quarters lengths. Although he failed to win the Preakness, he almost effortlessly won the Belmont Stakes by four lengths. By the time he retired, he had won nine out of fourteen races, earning $1,583,661. Several days later, the racing world was stunned when Swale mysteriously collapsed and died after a workout. He was later buried on Claiborne Farm.

 Also among Seattle Slew's notable offspring are Slew o' Gold, a Hall of Fame colt; Landaluce, and undefeated who died of a viral infection as a two-year-old; A.P. Indy, 1992 Horse of the Year and Belmont Stakes winner; and many more. Even his daughters produced great offspring. The most famous is Cigar, two-time Horse of the Year. One of his descendants, Itsmyluckyday, raced in this year's Triple Crown. 

 During the months leading up to his death, Seattle Slew was in poor health and was beginning to recover from surgery. Then, in May 2002, twenty-five years after being named the tenth Triple Crown winner, the great champion passed away.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for reading this post! I love to hear from and interact with my readers; it's what makes blogging worth it, so please comment and let me know what you think.