Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Seattle Slew: Two-Year-Old Season

 On February 15, 1974, a dark bay colt later named Seattle Slew was born on Ben Castleman's White Horse Acres. His sire was Bold Reasoning, Bold Ruler's grandson, and his dam was My Charmer, a descendant of the great mare Myrtlewood.

 Since Seattle Slew was neither the son of Northern Dancer or What a Pleasure, leading sires at the time, he was purchased for the bargain deal of $17,500 at Keeneland's Yearling Sale. Mrs. Karen Taylor, her husband Mickey, and Dr. and Mrs. Hill(the four shared ownership of Seattle Slew) named the colt in honor of their hometowns. The Taylors came from Seattle, and the Hills came from an area in Florida with lots of swamps, called slews. Hence the name, Seattle Slew.

 Seattle Slew was sent to Billy and Paula Turner's training facility in Maryland. He was clumsy, never got anything right, and swerved to the right when galloping, since his right foreleg curved to the outside. Because of that, Paula nicknamed him Baby Huey after an ungraceful cartoon character.

 However, he soon grew out of the name after several fast workouts in New York. A minor injury kept him out of the Futurity and the Cowden Stakes. Even though a horse named For the Moment dominated the juvenile division, people who had seen Slew's exercise rides knew that he would possibly be the star of the season.

 Seattle Slew won his first race, which was at Belmont Park. He easily repeated the performance before meeting For the Moment in the Champagne Stakes. Despite Billy Turner's belief that Slew needed more experience before entering a major stake race, Slew won by nine lengths, running 1:34 2/5, a new record. Because of his undefeated streak and his impressive victory in the Champagne Stakes, Slew earned Two-Year-Old Championship honors.

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