Thursday, May 23, 2013

Seattle Slew: Three-Year-Old Season

 Seattle Slew, known as the "People's Horse," began his three-year-old season as a favorite for the Kentucky Derby. He first won a seven furlong race at Hialeah, running in the track record time of 1:20 3/5, followed by victories in the Flamingo Stakes and the Wood Memorial Invitational Stakes.

Seattle Slew after the flamingo Derby.
 By the time the Derby rolled around, critics were saying that the lightly raced three-year-old wouldn't stand a chance. Seattle Slew was agitated during the post parade, and was foaming around the mouth, proving to the doubters that he would tire easily. 

 Seattle Slew banged his face on the starting gate right at the beginning, nearly throwing jockey Jean Cruguet. For the Moment took the early lead. Despite his slow start, Seattle Slew caught and passed the leaders within the first quarter mile, leaving the early leaders to fade away.

Seattle Slew winning the Kentucky Derby.
"He broke slowly. He was shut off immediately. He had to overcome adversity. And then he went on to do what he was supposed to do. That's the sign of a racehorse," said Billy Turner, Slew's trainer. 

 Seattle Slew won the Preakness in the same manner two weeks later. He ran the fastest opening mile on record, easily passing Iron Constitution, Run Dusty Run, J.O. Tobin. After that, he almost effortless won the Belmont Stakes, becoming the first Triple Crown winner to win all of the classics as well. Furthermore, he became the first Triple Crown winner to be purchased at an auction. Eight others had been raced by their breeder and Sir Barton had been sold privately. 

 After his impressive victories in the Triple Crown races, many people offered to by him, including a $14 million from someone from Texas. Slew became so popular that his owners made tee-shirts, cocktail glasses, and rings featuring the young star. Companies, wanting to gain popularity, featured Slew in their advertisements. 

 However, the star didn't remain undefeated for long. Mickey Taylor and the rest of the crew raced him in the Swaps Stakes two weeks after the Belmont against Billy Turner's advice. Consequently, Slew lost to the English champion J.O. Tobin.

 The Taylors and the Hills took a lot of criticism for Slew's defeat. When Bill Turner told the press that the star should have never entered that race, Mickey fired him. Then Slew suffered from respiratory infections and a near-fatal virus. Even so, he was name 1977 Horse of the Year. 

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