The Life and Death of Seattle Slew

(As a follow-up to Secretariat, I am posting this rather lengthy blog on Seattle Slew, combining several features I’ve written over the years to form one comprehensive story)

It was nine o’clock in the morning on May 7, 2002—25 years to the day since Seattle Slew’s historic victory in the Kentucky Derby. The great Thoroughbred gave one final look at his devoted owners, Karen and Mickey Taylor, who, as usual, were by his side, and with his eyes, he let them know, as the Sioux warriors would say before going to battle, “It is a good day to die.”

Then, with the same class and dignity he displayed throughout his 28 years of life, he closed his eyes and passed quietly away. Even in death, he did it with style. He knew no other way. Seattle Slew was something wild and beautiful. On the track, he could be as swift and lethal as a falcon in a dive or soar as gracefully as an egret on gossamer wings. He was, in every sense of the word, a Thoroughbred.

John Polston was one day shy of his 57th birthday when he received a call from Karen Taylor, informing him that the great horse he had rubbed for two years had died that morning.

“I only spoke to Karen for a few minutes,” Polston said. “She was really broken up and could barely talk. She said Mickey had sat up with him 24 hours a day since last week, and assured me he didn’t suffer. They’d never let him suffer. They never had any kids; Slew was their child. They had devoted their lives to him since he got sick a few years ago, repaying him for all he had done for them. If there were more people like them I’d probably still be at the racetrack.”

Life without Seattle Slew was just too empty for Polston. He tried to stick around as long as he could, but he had already scaled racing’s highest peak, and there was no direction to go but down. So, he left, never to return.

“After a horse like Slew, there was nothing,” Polston said. “I didn’t want to be around horses anymore, because I knew it wouldn’t be the same. Everybody expected everything I touched to be another Seattle Slew.”

This amazing package of speed, class, and power was purchased for the rummage-sale price of $17,500 at the 1975 Fasig-Tipton July yearling sale. It was only appropriate that Slew should sell at this particular sale. If you look out the window of the Fasig-Tipton office on Newtown Pike you could just about make out the rolling pastures that were once part of Ben Castleman’s White horse Acres. It was here that an awkward, nondescript son of Bold Reasoning romped across the fields as a foal and was later prepared to meet his destiny in the sales ring only a short distance away.

The foursome destined to ride along on the dark bay comet were Washington lumberman Mickey Taylor and his wife, Karen, and New York veterinarian Jim Hill and his wife, Sally. Looking to spend no more than $12,000 to $13,000, it took a hard, swift elbow by Karen into the ribs of her husband to convince him to keep going. The Hills had already left and were in New York at the time, because Jim Hill was operating on a horse the following day. This was the colt they wanted, but he was already going for several thousands of dollars more than they wanted to spend. It was Karen’s no so subtle encouragement that finally got them the horse. From that elbow was born a dynasty that has been growing steadily for decades. Slew went on to earn more than $1.2 million, then was syndicated for $12 million. His offspring have earned more than $75 million and he appears in the pedigree of many of racing’s greatest stars. As Mickey Taylor said, “That turned out to be a helluva good elbow.”

Seattle Slew was purchased with the intention of running him in the five-furlong Riley Allison Futurity at Sunland Park in New Mexico, but their trainer, Dave Hofmans, had run out stall space at San Luis Rey Downs training center, where the Hills and Taylors’ other horses were stabled. Because the immature Seattle Slew was not likely to make the Riley Allison, it was decided to send him to Billy Turner’s wife Paula in Maryland to be broken.

It was in March of 1976 that trainer Billy Turner received four 2-year-olds off the farm. Seattle Slew still hadn’t been named, and Turner was far from enamored with the colt, who was so big and clumsy he was nicknamed “Baby Huey,” after the gawky cartoon character. “He was so clumsy galloping he would launch himself off his hind legs and land in a pile,” Jim Hill recalled.

Polston, who had been working for Turner, took a liking to the dark bay colt by Bold Reasoning, but he was given to one of the female grooms. He did pretty much what you asked him. When you wanted him to stop, you just pulled him up, and when you wanted him to go, you gave him a swift kick in the belly. But even then, he was a colt you didn’t push around.

“He was a strong, strapping, wild-acting baby,” Polston recalled. “He was a big, playful colt, and when he began training he got so strong the girl couldn’t handle him. Billy came to me and said, ‘I got this big, strong colt and I need someone who can handle him,’ so he gave him to me. I liked him right from the start. I tried to impose my will on him, but he would have nothing to do with that. His thinking was, ‘We’re gonna do things my way. You don’t mess with me and I won’t mess with you.’ We came to an understanding. We had to. He was one of the strongest horses I ever laid my hands on.

“Billy spotted what we had before anyone else. I’ll never forget one morning when we went out to work him. I was standing at the rail. He was supposed to work a half-mile and gallop out three-quarters. He comes rolling down the stretch, and Billy is on the pony heading back up the track waving his arms. I didn’t know what was going on. Afterward, Billy kept going, ‘Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!’ Slew had galloped out in 1:10 and change and Billy was trying to slow him down. That’s when we knew he was a special horse.”

Turner added, “It would take him about three strides to level off, and then, whoosh, he was gone. He would change leads so quickly, the rider wasn’t even aware of it.”

The clockers were impressed with Slew, but, because of miscommunication, his works were recorded under the name Seattle Sue. By the time Saratoga rolled around the word was out that Billy Turner had a black bullet who could fly.

One morning, Sally Hill came out with her son Jamie to watch Slew work from the gate in company. Allen Jerkens, who knew the Hills well, put Jamie up on his pony to give him a ringside seat as the horses broke from the gate, not knowing that the Hills owned one of the horses.

When the gates opened and Slew charged past the other horses in a flash, Jerkens looked with amazement and said, “Who the hell was that?” Sally laughed to herself and simply said, “You’ll find out.”

In fact, everyone found out. Two months later, Slew sewed up the 2-year-old championship with a breathtaking 9 3/4-length victory in the Champagne Stakes, run in a stakes-record 1:34 2/5. After the race, Mickey Taylor said, “If we can keep this horse in one piece, I’m never going to have to chop down another tree in my life.”

During the winter at Hialeah, the keyword was “relax.” Turner tried to keep Slew as calm and settled as possible, knowing he would have to harness a good deal of his speed in order to get him through the Triple Crown. It didn’t look promising after Slew won a seven-furlong allowance race by nine lengths in a track-record 1:20 3/5. “How in the world are we going to win the Belmont with this horse?” Turner asked.

“He was relaxed,” Polston said, “but he was never what you’d call docile. Even when he wasn’t in full training, he still was a handful to walk.”

Following decisive victories in the Flamingo Stakes and the Wood Memorial, Seattle Slew came to the Kentucky Derby undefeated in six starts. The media crush was taxing on Turner, the help, and the horse.

“It was a madhouse,” Polston said. “There was always a crowd of people around, and it was hard for the horses to relax, and hard for the people working with them to relax. I very seldom left the stable area. Mickey’s father had begun working as the night watchman in New York. He and Mickey’s mother lived in a camper right outside the stable area. They had this Doberman named Lance, and you didn’t mess with Lance. I fell in love with Mickey’s father. He was one of the most down-to-earth people I ever met. He and I always laughed about this one incident that happened while I was grazing Slew before the Derby. There were all these photographers around, and all of a sudden a car went by and Slew reared up and literally picked me up off the ground.”

Polston knew he was going to be in the limelight, so he went out and bought himself a three-piece powder blue suit for $100. He watched the Derby from the rail, and when he saw Slew break badly, it didn’t bother him at all. “Once he got to the lead, I said, ‘Well, that’s it.’ I knew they couldn’t beat him.”

When Slew, who was washed out, his neck lathered with sweat, broke near the back of the pack and found himself encircled by a stampede of horses, he reacted like a caged beast. Desperately in search of the open spaces he craved, he charged through the pack, knocking aside anyone who stood in his way. With his blood at the boiling point, he stared daggers at For the Moment for most of the running, while setting torrid fractions. He finally bounded to the lead, then in an instant, shut down the engines at the eighth pole, just as Turner had taught him. It was as if he knew his trainer had bigger plans for him and needed to save something for another day.

Turner was forced to watch the race on a TV monitor in the grandstand when he was unable to find his way to the boxes through the massive crowd. When Slew broke badly, Turner lost him and for a good portion of the race was following the wrong horse.

Instead of coming out of the race tired, Slew was a wild horse. He had run like an angry bronc, bullying his way through traffic, and he was still angry after the race.

“It was the only time I was scared of him,” Polston said. “He was so high-strung that night, he was evil, just evil. I couldn’t believe how wound tight he was. It was like he hadn’t even been in a race. I had to take him from the hotwalker and he ran over me a couple of times. I’d never seen him like that before. After the race, we had a couple of beers outside the barn, and Mickey had some champagne brought in. We bedded Slew down, and I bedded down right along with him.”

After winning the Preakness, again setting blistering fractions, Slew was brought back home to Belmont and finally seemed relaxed. Turner had handled him carefully all year, knowing the Belmont’s mile and a half would be his ultimate challenge. Although he never worked Slew farther than five furlongs, he had to take the edge off the colt, so he gave him two mile works in 1:37 2/5.

On June 11, Slew easily won the Belmont in front of 71,000 fans, becoming the only undefeated Triple Crown winner in history. It had been a long, hard road, but he was now a living legend destined for immortality.

“After the race, I put Slew to bed,” Polston said, “then went home, took a bath and went to bed myself. I was drained.”

Following the Triple Crown, times were difficult, as friction between Turner and the Hills and Taylors grew, beginning with the decision to run Slew in the Swaps Stakes three weeks after the Belmont, which resulted in the colt’s first career defeat. Turner had the blacksmith pull Slew’s shoes off immediately after the Belmont and put plain steel shoes on with the intention of turning him out. When he was informed of the owners’ plans, he told them, “You don’t treat a good horse like that.”

Turner said he also took exception to using Slew in an advertising campaign for Xerox, which had just come out with a new high-quality X-ray machine for horses. Turner had to take Slew to Dr. William Reed’s clinic three times in five days, because that’s where the machine was. Each time, he had to tranquilize him. When they shipped to California, Slew had to be tranquilized for the fourth time. He was dull before and during the race and never ran a lick.

Slew was then sent up to Longacres in the Taylors’ neck of the woods to be paraded in front of the fans. The relationship between Turner and the owners continued to deteriorate, exacerbated by Turner’s drinking problem.

Polston liked Turner and liked the Taylors, and it was hard for him to watch their impending breakup unfold.

“I didn’t know all the details, but I really enjoyed working for Billy,” he said. “I knew Billy before I knew the Taylors and the Hills. You could walk up to him and ask him for 20 dollars, and whether he knew you or not, he’d give it to you. Billy is one of those happy-go-lucky guys, but he really didn’t like the publicity.”

Finally, that winter, Turner was fired, and Slew was turned over to Doug Peterson. “When Billy left, he just wished me good luck,” Polston said. “I could tell he was hurt. I still couldn’t believe a guy who had just won the Triple Crown would get fired. We all knew Billy liked to drink, but as far as I’m concerned he was always a good trainer.”

The Taylors and Hills were vilified for firing their trainer. “It was a very disturbing time,” Sally Hill said. “My kids could read the newspapers and it was hard for them to see their parents being slammed like that. Jim tried to get Billy to take care of his problem for a year. In the end, we did what we had to do.”

Turner said recently he has no animosity toward the Taylors and Hills for the breakup, and they have all put that behind them. “There’s no bitterness at all,” Turner said. “We all made mistakes, but we’ve grown and learned a lot. I appreciate everything they did for me and have no hard feelings whatsoever. I just feel very fortunate to have had a horse like Slew come along in my lifetime. And after practically drinking myself to death, I still was able to make a solid comeback and am grateful for everything. Here I am the only living trainer to have won the Triple Crown. I figure I’ve gotten a lot more than I deserve.”

As for Polston, he left the racetrack to be with his wife and two kids, driving a delivery truck and then working as a maintenance man in an apartment complex. But he never stopped thinking of Slew and all the horse did for him.

“Because of Slew I’m in the history books,” he said. “I rubbed the only undefeated Triple Crown winner. Nobody can say that. I have my picture in the racing Hall of Fame, and that’s something my grandkids can see.”

In 17 career starts, Slew won 14 races by an average margin of 4 3/4 lengths. His time of 1:54 2/5 in the Preakness was the second-fastest ever run. His time of 1:45 4/5 in the Marlboro Cup  was the second-fastest 1 1/8 miles ever run, and he did it carrying 128 pounds. By defeating Affirmed decisively on two occasions, he became the only Triple Crown winner ever to defeat a Triple Crown winner. In his career finale, the Stuyvesant Handicap at Aqueduct, he missed the track record by two-fifths of a second, winning in hand under 134 pounds.

Slew didn’t care if he killed off his opponents early or late. If they tried to take him on early, he’d run them into the ground, no matter how fast he had to go. In the Marlboro Cup, when Steve Cauthen, aboard Affirmed, decided to sit back and wait before going after him, Slew made him pay the price. After being allowed to waltz the opening half in :47, Slew blazed home his last five furlongs in an astounding :58 4/5, turning the first ever battle of Triple Crown winners into nothing more than a procession.

In what many believe to be the greatest losing effort of all time, he somehow managed to battle back the entire length of the stretch against the top-class Exceller in the mile and a half Jockey Club Gold Cup. Seemingly exhausted after breaking through the gate before the race, having his rider lose an iron, and then fighting off Affirmed and his pacesetter in suicidal fractions, Slew was passed at the quarter pole by Exceller, who had made up some 20 lengths and appeared to be on his way to an easy victory. Slew, however, dug in on the sloppy track and kept fighting back, only to fall a nose short. Many feel it was this race more than his victories that stamped his greatness. After all these years, people still talk about the courage he displayed on that wet, autumn afternoon.

Not even the controversies that surrounded the horse could diminish his stature in the eyes of the public. After Turner was fired, replaced by Doug Peterson, his regular rider, Jean Cruguet, also was let go, and the mount was given to Angel Cordero Jr. Then Polston, resigned. Finally, the owners’ partnership was dissolved following a heated court battle.

“People do get divorced,” Sally Hill said. “It certainly wasn’t what any of us wanted. Even with all the controversies, I still thank God for all the wonderful memories. No one can ever take that away from us. All I can think of is what an incredible story it was and how lucky we are to have been a part of it.”

Most people have no idea how close to death Seattle Slew came between his 3-year-old year and 4-year-old year when he was became ill with a severe viral infection.

“I’ve seen other horses with the same thing,” Mickey Taylor said, “and they died within 24 hours. But he had the heart and the fight.”

Slew would need every ounce of heart and fight to battle other maladies that plagued him later in life. While at Three Chimneys Farm, he suffered from a severe back problem that required two surgeries and also suffered from arthritis. He eventually was moved to the quieter environment of Hill ‘N’ Dale Farm. Even as his condition began to deteriorate he never stopped fighting. But his youthful spirit finally lost out to the reality of old age.

And so, as Seattle Slew lay in his stall on the anniversary of his Kentucky Derby victory, it was Derby Day 1977 once again. The crowd was cheering. He was bulling his way through horses and running free. The finish line was getting closer. There was no turning back. It was the perfect time to say farewell. It was a good day to die.



Leave a Comment:

Kathy Kimber

As always Steve good job, Slew has always been one of my favorites.  He was very special such a heart and such strength.  Thanks for thye memories

21 Sep 2010 4:49 PM

An amazing article about an amazing horse. I am reading his book by Dan Mearns and I can honestly say that it was the perfect companion during my recent trip to Lexington, KY. I drove down Newtown Pike several times on my way through the vast array of farms and horses. Lexington is a magical place for me, and it will forever be my home. Your article brought back all of the magic of this beautiful athlete. He is a horse I will always cherish.

21 Sep 2010 5:09 PM
Linda in Texas

To me Steve it was so ironic that he died on the anniversary of his winning the Kentucky Derby. He simply laid down and never woke from his nap. He had said goodbye to Chet his canine companion and dozed off forever.

The Racing Gods lived then and they live now. We just have to know when they are sending us extra special gifts, because too soon they leave us. And all we have is our memories of them.

So indeed, thanks for the memories

Seattle Slew. And thank you Steve for writing about him lest anyone forget.

21 Sep 2010 5:12 PM

Thank you so much for this blog on Seattle Slew.  After all this time, I still look for articles about him.  I was never able to meet him but I was lucky enough to meet his son Vindication before he passed away.

To me, Seattle Slew was the finest thoroughbred of all time. Not only was he a magnificent racehorse, but he was a sire of sires.  His legacy and his line will live on forever.

Thanks again.

21 Sep 2010 5:25 PM

A beautiful tribute to one of my favorites.  I love hearing stories of this spirited, competitive horse.  As always, eloquently written.

21 Sep 2010 5:30 PM

Thanks for the memories and the tears.

21 Sep 2010 5:35 PM

Seattle Slew was my favorite colt and Ruffian was my favorite filly

21 Sep 2010 5:43 PM

Thanks so much for the great aticles you write re past greats. Like I said before, you have the best blogs.

21 Sep 2010 5:43 PM

Bwaaaaa! sniff...sniff...ah! oh gee!  Slew was my "perfect horse".  Why do we always fall for the rebel?  the bad boy?  Love at first sight.  Watching as he strutted from the paddock to the post parade for the Derby, he bit his groom, then reared straight up on his hind legs.  I had never before seen a race horse so fiercely independent and wild.  And who could forget his war dance?  Such iniquity could not be ignored.  If you asked me today, I would say he had the stature of Rock Hard Ten although that would be untrue. (They say he was 16 hands, but I still can't believe it) He always puffed himself up to that stature, and intimidated his rivals with aplomb.  He charged down the track like a cannonball.  He had no fear.  He always seemed to know he was great, a conqueror, and more a cad than a gentleman.  If you saw the 2002 BC Juvenile, you saw the shadow of Slew in Vindication.  If you saw Lava Man in his final race, you saw Slew's temperament as Lava Man dragged his two grooms toward the track so quickly, the jockey barely had time to mount.  And he had the timing of a true showman.  Who else could have chosen the 25th anniversary of his Derby win to say his final goodbye.  The Sioux words were from Crazy Horse before the Battle of Little Bighorn.  I think Slew and Crazy Horse (2 of my biggest heroes) are probably running across the plains today, free and wild, together.

Aw Slew, I miss you so much.  I miss those knobby knees and those soft intelligent eyes, my hero.

Thank you Steve, but the tears are coming too quickly now, and I can't even see what I'm writing.

21 Sep 2010 5:56 PM
Ted from LA

Great article.  Derby Day 2011 is May 7.  Beware the Settle Slew descendents.

21 Sep 2010 5:57 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

Steve, another spectacular piece and this time about the best horse to step on the track and also reproduce himself. I particularly love how much info came from Polston. Thank you!

I will never forget The Slew's Triple Crown campaign, even though winning the Triple Crown in the 70's seemed to be expected. Slew's win maybe wasn't as flashy as Secretariat's but it had just as much drama and excitement, not to mention he was an amazing physical specimen oozing with confidence and ability.

We are so lucky to have so many of his successful offspring to carry on the tradition of his name; AP Indy, Capote, Slew City Slew, Slew O' Gold, Surfside, etc. and those stars that were taken from us too soon; Swale & Landaluce.

21 Sep 2010 6:16 PM

Brilliantly done Steve.

I shall always remember Slew's race in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. I think it was one of the greatest performances ever by a racehorse.

His race in the Champagne was just a breath-taking spectacle.

He is one horse who I hope is never compared to another horse. He was unique.

21 Sep 2010 6:20 PM
Mike Relva


Thanks for your insightful,touching story on SS. I've never thought the owners' took the correct path by running him back in three weeks after winning the Triple Crown.

21 Sep 2010 6:20 PM

This is one of the best pieces (or collection of pieces) ever written about the undefeated Triple Crown Winner and champion, Seattle Slew.  He remains my favorite horse of all time, despite the fact that I had never seen him run in person, as he roamed the earth before my time.  However, when you research and read about something so perfect, and you watch those videos of this incredible horse, you know immediately that this was THE PERFECT RACHORSE:)

21 Sep 2010 6:22 PM
John A

Seattle Slew is the best horse that i have ever seen  i am glad to had able to see him run in front of me. However I always did blame his owners for his lost in California just because the greed in which it happen. Today greed continues to happen all to often in our society.

Great Article.

21 Sep 2010 6:30 PM

What a racehorse! I can never get enough articles about my second favorite racehorse of all time. Thanks for a wonderful summary of the great SLEW!!!

21 Sep 2010 6:45 PM

Steve-you've done it again. What more can anybody say!  Thanks from a devoted reader.

21 Sep 2010 6:51 PM

Steve, your writings are truly a gift. The way you breathe life into a story gives me goosebumps. And this one about one of the all times greats. Did not disappoint. Thank you!

21 Sep 2010 6:58 PM

How ironic is this......I just got a Seattle Slew bobble head as a gift yesterday, and today Steve posts this incredible blog on Slew.  Super article Steve, but could use some more pictures of Slew :)

21 Sep 2010 6:59 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Cheers to Seattle Slew and Billy Turner. Two warriors who survived terrific battles and close calls. Seattle Slew who exhibited raw power and fury, and Billy Turner who somehow was able to harness that terrific force and channel it into an awesome display on the track.

Slew-Great vision of Seattle Slew and Crazy Horse riding across the plains, with millions of buffalo fleeing from their path. The thunderous noise finally quieting as Slew and Crazy Horse stand tall and peaceful atop a mountain top looking over the wonderous valley untouched by modern society. You're right, that is where this gorgeous horse went on May 7th, 2002 to claim his territory, all of it, and to run off any stallion that dared to attempt to invade his territory. Battles ensued but he has won every one during the last eight years. Crazy Horse waited for him since 1877, and finally got to ride the perfect horse, one time, before he set Seattle Slew free to roam and roam and roam.

21 Sep 2010 7:08 PM

Mr. Haskins, Beautiful story.  You always bring out the tears.

21 Sep 2010 7:09 PM

Aww, this was certainly worth waiting for, Steve.  You've done an awesome job of telling Seattle Slew's story through your eyes and with details that bring him to life for us once more.  Thank you.  Just yesterday I watched the replay of that duel with Exceller again, and yes, I do think that was a race that even in losing he showed his talent and his heart.  Thank you for sharing the photo also.  You are the best!

21 Sep 2010 7:10 PM

Great article Steve. Slew was truly one of the greatest. I wonder if in retirement he remember the thousands who urged him on back in the day. Thanks for writing this.

21 Sep 2010 7:11 PM
Maggie Black

Thank You for this wonderful article. It made me miss Slew even more.

John A- I have to agree with you on the greed thing.


21 Sep 2010 7:13 PM

But Dr. D: Don't you see?...Seattle Slew and Crazy Horse are one and the same....It's all in the spirit within.  They share the same soul.

21 Sep 2010 7:21 PM

...just WOW.

What a great story, so beautifully told.

Even my brother, a definite NON horse fan, was a fan of Seattle Slew... Karen Taylor worked for the same airline at that time and he was very proud to tell me he knew Slew's owner!

We really were spoiled, back there in the 70s, with THREE Triple Crown winners... when Secretariat was going for it, it was truly a great goal, unattained in 25 years... then we had Affirmed and Slew so close together... maybe we became a little complacent... but look now how long it has been, and remember those other horses had media hype and distractions and tough campaigns... now we understand the rarity of this achievement and how truly special all three of these 1970s champions were.

21 Sep 2010 7:26 PM

Another great story Steve beautifully written as long as I could see to read thru my tears I think. He was a 70's Triple Crown winner. Big Red,Slew and Affirmed.No one could ever forget these great ones because we will never see horses like them again in our life times.I loved all of them I just wish I had seen them in person so I live them thru you Steve. You make it easy to dream. Thank you.

21 Sep 2010 7:39 PM
Abbie Knowles

Hi Everyone

Thanks so much Steve for this wonderful article and to everyone on here and out there who love Seattle Slew so much.

I fell in love with Seattle Slew in 1975 when I saw his photo in the UK magazine Pacemaker and The Horseman.  I have followed his racing career with great interest and love plus his progeny with devotion ever since.

For me Seattle Slew is quite simply the greatest horse to ever look through a bridle and the greatest stallion!  Horse racing is all about opinions and this is mine.  I know it won't please everybody!  But please remember how much I love Seattle Slew and for how long!

Seattle Slew has sired many wonderful sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters etc etc etc.  My special favourites are Cigar, A P Indy, Rags to Riches, Landaluce, Swale, Seattle Song, Slewpy, Bernardini, Girolamo, Tomahawk, Lava Man, Stormy Atlantic, Tiznow, Get Stormy, Houston, My Indy, Jaridh, Biondetti, Theysken's Theory, Vindication, Slew O'Gold, Corinthian, Pulpit, Tapit, Malibu Moon, Bluegrass Cat, Mineshaft, Trappe Shot, First Dude, Careless Jewel, Stardom Bound, Stephen Got Even, Midshipman, Avenue of Flags, Leestown, California Flag, Trapizar, Valenzeri(I have forgotten his new name!), Golden Opinion, Awe Inspiring, and every horse with Seattle Slew anywhere in it's pedigree!

I love all horses and all animals but have my special favourites!

Many thanks again Steve!  A fantastic piece of writing!

God Bless

Best wishes


21 Sep 2010 7:47 PM

Oh my.  That was priceless!

21 Sep 2010 7:52 PM

In 2002 I was hurriedly making plans to visit Seattle Slew, as he was the last living Triple Crown Winner.  Six days later a co-worker, who knew about my trip, came in my office and asked if I'd heard the news.  What news?  And he told me that Slew had died.  Devastating.

Thank you Steve for a beautiful, wonderful article.  His "loss" in the JCGC is one of my all time favorite races.

May I ask the story behind the photo?

Slew, the poster - Hang in there, kiddo.  I loved your post.

21 Sep 2010 8:02 PM

Seattle Slew and Ruffian were the only horses I've ever had no doubts about, ever. If they were in a race, they were going to win. No questions.

21 Sep 2010 8:07 PM

Slew is certainly in my top 3 all time horses !

21 Sep 2010 8:15 PM

Thank God, for the consistent TV coverage that horseracing received during the 1970s. We were able to witness pure perfection.

The immortal SLEW will always be one of the great Loves of my life.

What a Blessing he and his unending legacy are. God knew what He was doing when he sent him to us.  The world is more beautiful for having known the great SEATTLE SLEW.  

21 Sep 2010 8:18 PM

There is no one better. Alydar & Seattle Slew will always be my boys.

21 Sep 2010 8:18 PM
Barbaro's Forever Friend in CA

Thank you, Mr. Haskin! Wonderfully written...Seattle Slew is one of my most favorite horses...*SLEW*:) I love reading about him! And your writing skills make the reading just that much better!

21 Sep 2010 8:24 PM
Mike Relva


Totally agree,on point.

21 Sep 2010 8:25 PM

Curious if your were as close to this horse and connections as you were Big Red?

I do hope we have the good fortune to see another like him in our needs it too.

21 Sep 2010 8:30 PM
needler in Virginia

We were lucky enough to meet both Slew AND Slew O' Gold the summer of 1989. Three Chimneys was barely out of the starting gate, standing only four stallions, with one retiree hanging out. Two of those stallions were cranky Slew and his quirky son. Slew wanted nothing to do with the peons; he had a roll in his sand pile to worry about so we were just so much stuff in the way. He dragged his grooms to the paddock gate and stomped around fretfully in anticipation. Once freed, he threw dirt in our faces with his takeoff and he never looked back. What a joy to see him running flat out, with only a halter to hinder him. WOW! I still get chills. Then he dropped to his knees and began to roll, over and over and over and over, grunting all the while and clearly having far more fun that ought to be legal. A GREAT afternoon at Three Chimneys, but it wasn't over yet. With the small number of stallions at Three Chimneys, we had gotten a personal tour from the stallion manager who warned me, quite specifically, that if I did NOT pull Slew O' Gold's tongue enough he'd bite me. After photos of my husband with the horse....I have one of husband and Slew, too......I got back to my specified job, that of pulling his tongue. After a bit, I started listening more than was good for me because I didn't pull enough, and Slew O' Gold nailed me right below my right elbow. The stallion manager almost had a stroke he was so upset and worried, but I had to be fair and not blame the horse....I had failed at my job; he had simply reminded me that any job is worth doing well. I carried that enormous bruise around for several weeks and still love to tell its' story. Couldn't tell, could ya??? The son, although a real giant, was so much like the father and there they stood....Slew and Son: elegant, watchful, proud beyond measure, strong beyond imagining and VERY serious at being special. They managed quite nicely at all those, thanks very much.

Perfect afternoon and perfect memory of greatness now gone. I miss the cranky old bastard and his demanding son; after all, being who and what they were they had every right to be pissed if we didn't get it right. We were just their minions and deserved reprimand if we kept messing up.

Miss him, miss him, miss him. Thank you Steve, for a very special read, and for loving the spirit of these magical creatures as much as your readers do.

Cheers and safe trips.

21 Sep 2010 8:42 PM

Thank you for paying this magical horse the honors and memory he richly deserves...I SO appreciated the story, and several things I learned from it...Thank you!

21 Sep 2010 9:20 PM

I am so glad I went to Three Chimneys Farm many years ago.  My brother and I went for one see Seattle Slew up close and personal.  When he was lead out of his stall into the center of the building, I looked long and hard at this beautiful horse who exhibited such class.  And I said to my brother,  "We are looking at greatness."  A moment I have never forgotten.

Another masterpiece Steve.  Many thanks.

21 Sep 2010 9:31 PM

When Slew came along, I wasn't ready to be seduced by a horse again.  Losing Ruffian in '75 was tough for everyone, and that was the same year my parents sold our last yearlings and found homes for our mares.  I still followed racing, but it took me many years to appreciate Seattle Slew.

The decision by his owners to run at Hollywood Park in the Swaps came shortly after my move to Los Angeles, and I drove over the hill to HP to see him get beat by J.O. Tobin.  I always felt that his owners should have listened to their trainer.  

In 2002 after hearing about how the Taylor's were with him when he died I made peace with my feelings about their handling of the horse.

I appreciate that he is the one who has passed down the Nasrullah line through Bold Ruler, as Secretariat was unable to do so.

21 Sep 2010 9:48 PM

Beautifully done.  Spectacular.  Thank you so much for posting.  

21 Sep 2010 9:50 PM

I'll never forget having a tip on Slew's 1st race. It came from a good friend of Billy Turner.Slew was 15-1 morning line, but paid 5-2. The rest is history!

21 Sep 2010 10:09 PM
Bill Daly

Thanks for a very informative article, Steve.  I never knew exactly why Slew looked so dull against J.O. Tobin in the Swaps. That explains it.  Billy Turner was right; that was no way to treat a good horse.  Slew was a force of nature.  That first quarter of the Derby was incredible.   Most horses would have sulked and quit with all the trouble he had getting to the lead. I saw him win the Wood in a pretty lackluster race.  He did just what he had to do to win and that was all.  The trouble is he had no real competition.  That horse was so good nobody in that 3 yr. old class could warm him up.  I thought Cormorant would give him a run for his money in the Preakness, but Slew tracked him and ran by him like he was tied to a pole.  He was simply incredible. I also remember seeing him beat Affirmed in the Marlboro Cup.  It was a very dark overcast day and the horses were difficult to see on the track.  Belmont didn't have lights on the track and you really had to squint to see what was going on.  I do remember Cordero broke with Slew like a shot and as you say, Cauthen took back with Affirmed.  He never seriously threatened Slew that day. As you say Slew flew home.  One of the truly great horses which made the '70s remembered as the "Decade of Champions".  Truer words were never spoken.

21 Sep 2010 10:17 PM

Steve, off topic here, but I ordered your book recently on John Henry.  Cant wait to get the time to delve into it,  John Henry and his orneryness just amazes me so.

I know this sounds mean, I know his antics werent all that funny when they were going on, but I have to laugh at his quircky ways when I hear about them...  Cant wait to get into the book..    

21 Sep 2010 10:17 PM

Beautiful.  Just beautiful.  Thank you Steve.  You must own stock in Kleenex.

21 Sep 2010 10:18 PM
John T

Although Seattle Slew went on to run many a good race after the Belmont Stakes,his true legacy is the first horse ever to win the Triple Crown undefeated.Even in later years if some other horse is

able to accomplish it Slew,s name will always be the one in the history books as the first to do it.

From one super horse to another in the making Frankel will have his

third race Saturday in the Royal Lodge Stakes at Ascot.The last time Henry Cecil trained the winner

of this race was 1994 with Eltish who would go on that same year to run a fine second in the Breeders

Cup Juvenile and would end up being trained by Bobby Frankel.

21 Sep 2010 10:19 PM

What a great story,Slew is one of the greats of all time.

21 Sep 2010 10:20 PM
Laura P in DC

Thanks, Steve, for bringing Slew back to life for your readers.  It is touching that his owners, whom I blamed for running him into defeat three weeks after his Triple Crown, took such good care of him in the end, when he had nothing more to give.  

21 Sep 2010 10:29 PM

So great to see Slew's not been forgotten!  I was only 12 when I saw Slew waltz off with the Champagne Stakes.  I stood in the kitchen drying dishes that evening, telling my mother that Slew would win next year's Triple Crown, and he would be undefeated in doing so.  Don't know how I knew, but I just did.  I would get goosebumps watching him run - so many times, he just appeared to be floating, hooves barely touching the ground.  My hubby took me to CD for the 1988 KY Derby and the following Monday, we toured Three Chimneys to see my hero and his son.  I had my picture taken with Slew and Slew o'Gold.  What beautiful animals! And the look of eagles!  Still in Slew's eyes after all those years!  He knew he was great!  Then when Vindication came along?  It was like watching Slew all over again!

Thank you, Steve, for all the memories.  For too long, too many people bashed Slew - now after all these years, it's nice to know there are so many other believers in Slew out there!

Thanks again.

21 Sep 2010 10:34 PM

My mother and I were among the thousands of fans at Longacres that day when Slew parading down the stretch.  What a thrill for a 15 year old horse crazy girl!  He was so beautiful.  Seeing such greatness in person was something I will never forget.  Ironically, the year he died, I was at Emerald Downs (the track that replaced Longacres) and Karen Taylor was there to sign posters of Slew commemorating the anniversary of his Derby win.  

I was also the proud owner of the 45 record that was made about Slew.  Can't remember the lyrics other than something like "Seattle Slew amazing what he can do."  LOL

21 Sep 2010 10:38 PM

Slew - I was as much in anticipation of your comments as I was looking forward to Mr. Haskin's article about the great Seattle Slew, and neither of you disappointed!

21 Sep 2010 10:45 PM

Great story Steve. I had tears in my eyes as I read. What a horse!

21 Sep 2010 10:49 PM

SteveH : Thanks for these articles, I haven't read your last 4 articles as I'm saving them for my trip to HP to see Zen.  I'm printing anything you write up until two Fridays from now and will have meself lots of good reading for my hour flight.  I'm also printing some of your old articles that I haven't read.  I promise not to sell them to a publisher. :)

I'll probably end up getting a book out of your articles and will call it :

"The Genuine Horseman, His Stories"

21 Sep 2010 10:54 PM
Paula Higgins

Well, this was a tearjerker Steve. He was one of my favorites. He was very special, even among the other greats.

21 Sep 2010 10:57 PM

I'll never forget the first time I saw Slew race. It was the Champagne. My friend who saw his first two races told me "your going to see a champion today." I fell in love with a horse that day. Slew is in my blood.

Thanks Steve.

21 Sep 2010 10:59 PM

Needler - how wonderful to get Slew O Gold bit!  Awesome that you were able to visit Slew and his son - just thinking of how wonderful that would be blows me away.  Thanks for sharing that with us.  I love learning the details of the horse's personalities besides their statistics and speed numbers.  Thanks!

21 Sep 2010 10:59 PM
Darkie's Doll


Having been to the Crazy Horse Memorial in SD and having seen every televised Seattle Slew race in my younger days, it is a wonderful vision to imagine the two of them running over that varied terrain. I'm sure their spirits are happy together. Slew was very special - think he might have given some of our later day heros a real fit!

21 Sep 2010 11:08 PM

Nice piece, Steve. I was at Belmont when he won the Triple Crown so easily, one of the all time fastest and greatest horses.

21 Sep 2010 11:14 PM

This story about this great champion brings tears to my eyes. jimmy polson what great groom. when grooms were part vet part security gaurd and fulltime caretakers. It brings back great memories when i use to rub for the great charles whittingham. its sad when you compare the lifespan of a horse versus a human. i rubbed greinton and ferdinand in the MID 80S. RIP my Great Champions. RIP will be missed dearly my old buddy.

21 Sep 2010 11:38 PM

We were so spoiled in the 70s!  3 Triple Crown winners, Forego, Ruffian, Spectacular Bid- I think we were so blessed that we were surprised when the next 3 decades passed without so many greats.

Seattle Slew is my all time favorite racehorse,   He was talented, brave, came back from so much adversity, and was a romantic near-black stallion.   He was the only Triple Crown winner bought at auction, and the high rollers at auctions have tried ever since to find the next Seattle Slew.   Boy have they failed- he was lightening in a bottle and just can't ever be duplicated.   All of us fans, and the lower budget horsemen loved him partly because he represented all of our dreams.   He was regal, quirky, and ours.

  Steve, I have read all of your articles and have been moved by them, but never cried, until now.   There are 2 r3 races I can't watch without tears- Secretariat's Belmont, Zenyatta's BC Classic, and the 1978  JC Gold Cup.   I am still crying, so proud of Slew and so moved by his bravery.

  I followed his stud career with a parent's pride.  So many wonderful Slew decendants have graced the track since he did, and I look for the Slew in all of them.  Every time one of his decendants wins a major race, or rises to the top as Malibu Moon has, or is covered in glory like AP Indy, I remember Slew.  There has never been anything like him, with the charisma and unbelievable talent and the legacy.

21 Sep 2010 11:46 PM

Steve I think you are the greatest. You are a true legend. You somehow also manage to capture great emotions when telling a story of the people and horse involved in horseracing. Seattle Slew was a favorite of mine. When I first got involved in betting in 1990 I would always bet Slews sires. History has served Slew well in the breeding department. Slew was a great race horse and one of the best sires of all time.

21 Sep 2010 11:52 PM
The Deacon

As always excellent article Steve. Very well written,  extremely insightful and sad all at the same time.

I was at Hollywood Park in 1977, the day Slew lost the Swaps Stakes to J.O. Tobin.  J.O. Tobin was ridden by Bill Shoemaker that day and won the race by over 8 lengths. Slew finished 4th some 16 lengths behind the winner. Everyone knew that he had nothing to give after a grueling Triple Crown campaign. The time of the Swaps Stakes (run at 10 furlongs back then) was 1:58 3/5, missing the world record by 2/5 of a second. Interesting thing about J.O Tobin was that he was bred in Maryland but raced in Great Britain at age 2 and was named 2 year champion of 1977. It took a near world record to beat Slew that day.

Funny thing, Slew beats Affirmed twice in 1978 after Affirmed wins the Triple Crown and then in 1979 Affirmed beats Spectacular Bid twice after the "Bid" almost and should have won the Triple Crown. It goes to show that a great 4 year old normally beats a great 3 year old.

Nevertheless Seattle Slew was one of the top 10 greatest race horses of all time. We had 3 Triple Crown winners in the 1970's, should have had 4. In my mind that 10 year periodof the 1970's produced arguebly and collectively 5 of the top 10 greatest race horse ever. Secretariat, Ruffian, Seattle Slew, Affirmed and Spectaculer Bid.

You could throw in Forego and maybe get 6 out of the top 10 of all time.........

22 Sep 2010 12:50 AM
Steve Haskin

Thank you, everyone, for your comments. I'm glad to have brought back the memories.

Ruffianruns, no story behind the photo, except I cant remember how I wound up where I was to take it. I believe it was after training hours and he came out all by himself.

Rondo, yes, I was pretty close to Slew and have a number of photos of him at the barn. Billy Turner was and is a super guy.

JayJay, I hope my articles make the trip go by fast for you. Have a great time.

Between now and the BC, my blogs likely will consist of only an occasional link to my Countdown to the Cup column, if I feel there is anything worth commenting on. I hope to be able to share more history over the winter. Thank you all for your support and kind words, especially on the Secretariat and Slew blogs. I hope everyone enjoys the movie. Just go and have fun.

22 Sep 2010 12:53 AM

Great story about a great horse. I have wondered why trainer Billy Turner is not in the Racing Hall of Fame. As trainer of the only undefeated triple crown winner he deserves to be there.

22 Sep 2010 1:21 AM
Abbie Knowles

Thanks Stve and everyone,

Really enjoyed reading all the comments about my beloved Seattle Slew!

The 70's were fantastic for horse racing with many of my favourites in action then. Seattle Slew, Dahlia, Sea Pigeon (Dual Champion hurdler and great handicapper on the Flat between 1974 - 1981), The Minstrel (English and Irish Derby winner plus King George VI and QUEII),

Also Captain Christy, (Cheltenham Gold Cup winner and dual wide margin King George VI Chase winner) Nijinsky (UK Triple Crown Winner), Grand Canyon (NZ) (winner of many top races in UK and two Colonial Cups in USA), Tingle Creek (winner of many top 2 mile chases and a brilliant,spectacular jumper!), Red Rum (Three times winner of the Grand National and 2nd in the other two attempts!), L'Escargot (Winner of 2 Cheltenham Gold Cups and 1 Grand National!)  Secretariat, Affirmed and Alydar and so many more! But the above were the ones I loved the most in the 1970's.  The first four mentioned are probably my four all time favourites! That is Seattle Slew, Dahlia, Sea Pigeon and The Minstrel!

Each decade has it's own great horses but as Richard Stone Reeve's book title says the 1970's was indeed THE DECADE OF CHAMPIONS!

God bless everyone on this blogsite and all racing afficionados everywhere!

Best wishes


22 Sep 2010 1:30 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Darkie's Doll

   One of my favorite visions ever is that of a herd of horses running through the barely inhabited by humans, open Plains. Thousands of Buffalo running through it also, warms my heart. It was a beautiful area, and the herds running wild is something that epitomizes freedom and the joy of life to me. Large flocks of geese is another one I love, and that is someting I actually get to see frequently. Any species of bird flying in a large flock is something I love, and cherish everytime I see it. The old timers, the great ones of the 70's, and other eras like Slew were amazing creatures. It's almost inconcievable that they could lose if racing today. Seattle Slew had it all. I am like Aluminaut, the death of Ruffian pushed me away for a few years so I didn't get to appreciate Slew as much as I would have liked to. I have learned to appreciate him from a historical perspective and watching his replays, and reading about him. A magnificient colt, horse, and stallion. I like the feisty ones, that are on the wild side but allow themselves to be tamed just so they can run, and crush the hearts of their adversaries as a substitute for beating them in a fight to control the harem as they would in the wild.

22 Sep 2010 1:46 AM

Steve, thanks again for the wonderful memories. I didn't much like Slew at first, because he won the Triple Crown so soon after Big Red, but like a true horse racing fan I began to acknowledge the horse he was .... and he was some racehorse - not to mention sire!  Anyway ...

We had an appointment to see Slew @ Three Chimneys, I think 2000? When we got there, the stallion mgr (Wes) told us he couldn't bring him out of his stall, because he was having a bad day (really cranky).  We said ok, but I started talking to him - he took one look at me, turned around and presented his butt to my face!  I just chuckled and said, yep he's cranky!

Anyway, Wes moved over to Slew O' Gold's stall, right next door.  He was laying down napping. I said oh don't wake him!  Wes said that's ok he needs to get up.  So, he did get him up, and did bring him out for us - what a beauty!  Along with him came Snowball, a white cat, who proceeded to weave in and out around Goldie's hind legs - then Goldie lifted one and it came down with a thud!  I thought, oh Snowball, you're splat!  (It was that quick).  Wes then consoled me and said Goldie would never hurt Snowball - they're soulmates!

Then I made a really dumb comment ... I said I thought it was a travesty that Goldie didn't win the Classic ..... duh - guess who we saw next that same day?  Wild Again!  One of these days maybe I'll learn to keep my mouth shut.  Or maybe not ....    

22 Sep 2010 2:59 AM

Seattle Slew, I always heard he was awnry ( to put it nicely). At Ellen's Ranch ( Victory Rose), we had just gotten "Simply Majestic" which was the sweetest and kindess stallion then about a month later, "Louisiana Slew" shipped in for Stud duty. I was warned as well as Ellen and the crew about how nasty he was. When he came out of the van, he was muzzled and sedated. We had news coverage when Simply Majestic arrived and also when Loui arrived. Thank goodness he was sedated. Of course, since the camera crews were there, we had to take the muzzle off. Like I said, thank gawd he was sedated!!!!!!! He was a mean sob for sure! I thought that Qui Native was nasty! But, the thing was, Loui and I got a long pretty well and I was the only one that could go out with the Farrier and hold him still. As long as I had pockets full of molasses and carrots!!

From the stories I've heard and read about Seattle Slew, he was a force to be recken with. That was the same with Loui. As long as you didn't try to over power him, he was respectful as soon as you try and force something that he didn't want to do, you have a fight. A fight you will not win!

So, I learned that early with him. So, I would go to his paddock a few times a day with carrots and he grew to like me. He knew I was giving him what he wanted. I also would go out and give him a rubb down etc... But, when it came to the breeding shed.... Manners were set aside!

22 Sep 2010 4:06 AM

TWO FREAKS..."THE SLEW" & "U"...ty...

22 Sep 2010 5:29 AM

Nothing like him. I see him in Tiznow.

22 Sep 2010 6:48 AM

Oh my goodness, Steve - this article brought tears to my eyes. I loved Slew.

This is a classic story of what fame and fortune can do to people. Amazing. Even more amazing, is how Slew transcended all of it. We are so lucky he lived a long life, and sired many marvelous race horses.



22 Sep 2010 7:13 AM
Shelby's Best Pal

As I wipe away a tear, I want to say thank you for this beautiful piece on The Slew.  After the Secretariat trilogy, I had hoped you would continue to share stories about our racing heroes and you did.  Wonderful writing.

22 Sep 2010 7:36 AM

Like all great horses, he did not have to have the race set up perfectly, have little or no traffic, have a special post position, have a "fast" track or anything else but his talent, great heart and will to win.

22 Sep 2010 7:41 AM

Great story about a great horse!

22 Sep 2010 7:55 AM

Thank you so much for that wonderful history of Slew.  He is my favorite of the TC winners.  I never got to see him in person.  But with stories like this one, he lives on.  

22 Sep 2010 7:56 AM

He was the "mostest"! This story would make a much better movie than Secretariat. But not by Disney.

22 Sep 2010 8:08 AM
Zeb Fry

I always look forward in reading your pieces. You pull the reader 'in' and I can relate to them. It becomes very personal - I just hate my puffy eyes afterwards.

22 Sep 2010 8:23 AM

Seattle Slew lured me to the horses as soon as I could leave home. He gave a very insecure child the nerve to dream and take chances. Thank you Steve for moving me to tears this morning.

22 Sep 2010 8:28 AM

Slew was about as close to perfection as you could get in a thoroughbred. He had an almost human intelligence and understood people better than they often understood themselves.

22 Sep 2010 8:30 AM

Wow...I think I enjoyed Needler in Virginia's trip down memory lane as much as Steve's story!

22 Sep 2010 8:49 AM
Mike C

Steve, You are SIMPLY the greatest Horse Racing writer of all time. An absolutely stunning article on this magnificent horse. THANK YOU!!!

22 Sep 2010 9:29 AM

Thanks for that.  Slew was a wonder, awe-inspiring on the track, even more so in the breeding shed.

My favorite thoroughbred, hands down.

When does he get his film?!

22 Sep 2010 9:35 AM


Forgive me if you've done this already... but, please, please compile your stories/blogs into a book! It would be a classic, for sure... love the stories here about the legendary Seattle Slew...

22 Sep 2010 9:49 AM

Wow Steve, Slew's clearly a topic that's close to your heart because your writing just sings.

"On the track, he could be as swift and lethal as a falcon in a dive ..."

Very nice article.

22 Sep 2010 9:59 AM
bellesforever brought a tear to my eyes..such a wonderful horse told with the compassion only you can bring to a story.Thank you for a great start to my day!

22 Sep 2010 9:59 AM

I didn't properly appreciate Slew when he was running - it was too soon after Secretariat, who was and is my favorite of all time, and it felt like Slew was stealing some of Big Red's thunder!  Now, with the passing of time, I can look back and be amazed at the things Slew accomplished.  I must say I was surprised to read that Slew started only 17 times - it seemed at the time as if he'd raced a lot more than that!

Steve, when you get around to it, I'd love to see blogs about Forego, Affirmed, Alydar.  

22 Sep 2010 10:13 AM

Wow!  Woke up without electricity this am, and couldn't wait 1) to have coffee  2) to return to this blog.  

Needler, A slew O'Gold bite..that's awesome...painful but awesome.  What lovely memories from everyone.

My biggest regret on all of the videos on you tube is that you only see the races, but not the pre and post race antics of this Stallion.  While some might say he could be "cranky" (probably an understatement) I prefer to think of Slew as wild and unbroken.  He always did only what he wanted to do.  And he was soooo beautiful and strong. Even the mares booked to him never really had a chance unless the Slew approved of them.  And I understand he was quite picky.  Booking didn't mean was just a blind date.

Dr D: loved your scenic reverie.  I think your love of the geese in flight is part of a collective memory.  In the NE, when the geese head South, you become aware that winter is closing in quickly, and the snows are coming.  When the geese head North, you rejoice and dance in the streets (at least I do) because you know the snow will finally melt, and Spring is on its way.  The geese are a more certain signature of the weather than any robin.

Slew, to me, was Epic.  He was always a conqueror....maybe even the schoolyard bully to some.  Wrapped up is his persona, I could always see not only Crazy Horse (well...Slew was a crazy horse) but Alexander the Great.  Maybe it was one soul handed down through the centuries, that finally matured and blossomed, and found Nirvana in a horse called Slew.

All I really know for certain is that I loved Slew, and I miss him, and I picked his clone, Vindication, to take the 2003 Triple Crown. Dang!  And I'm seething with jealousy over anyone who got close enough to reach out and stroke the neck of Slew.

22 Sep 2010 10:15 AM
Criminal Type

Seriously Steve, You have to stop making me cry. As much from the joy of having watched Slew race as from the sadness of his not being here with us. You are a wonderful writer and make me feel as if I am right there. I can see it all in my mind. Especially when Slew defeated Affirmed in the Marlboro Cup...As a huge Alydar fan, having Slew kick Affirmed's ass was devine retribution

I grew up loving horses and had been riding since a very young age. My grandfather had a small farm in Carroll County not far from Shamrock Farm. He introduced me to horse racing at a very young age. I saw Kelso as a child (you do the math..LOL) I was 16 when Slew raced in the Triple Crown. Since I live in Maryland,It was the first year I was allowed, by my parents, to attend The Preakness,and Steve, I am sure you are familiar with what it was like back then.

My most vivid memory is of crowds of people pushing to get to the infield fence screaming GO SLEW...GO SLEW ! It was kind of overwhelming. I yelled so much that day, it took 2 days to get my voice back.

Two years later I was on top of that same fence when Bid came pounding down the stretch. I feel fortunate to have seen those piece's of horse racing history in the making. Seattle Slew was one of the greats. Thank you for bringing him back to life, if only for a few moments.

22 Sep 2010 10:19 AM
Will W

No one indulged horses in this era which I well remember having seen it all. Imagine the outcry if an owner today wanted to run his horse back just 3 weeks after winning the Belmont and the Triple Crown. Revisited the 1978 Gold Cup on You Tube to again watch Slew's race with Affirmed and Exceller. When Slew broke through boldly through the gate there was not a hint of concern in the track announcer's - Chick Hern ? - voice. Not even a suggestion that this could lead to a scratch. Then Slew proceeded to run Affirmed into the ground in a speed duel at a mile and a half. 22 and change the first quarter, three quarters in 1:09 with Affirmed dropping back off the lead several lengths unable to keep up. Then after those suicidal fractions Seattle Slew refusing to give it up when collared by the closer Exceller, battling it out all the way to the wire, finishing up in 2:27 and change. It was an amazing performance - I'll never see anything like that again. I remember taking that defeat particularly hard as I was a fan of Affirmed. By the way, Steve, did they have the size of Slew's heart measured like they did with Secretariat and Sham ? The comment about the strength of the horse was telling. Great compilation. Really compelling reading. Maybe a little more in depth about his meetings with Affirmed would have been intriguing.

22 Sep 2010 10:25 AM


When Seattle Slew died, I read every tribute written about him I could find.Your tribute has always moved me the most,particularly the first paragraph you put in this blog again. I will always regret not having seen him in person. It has been wonderful reading the details about the visits with him that you lucky folks had.

The comparisons of his great spirit to Crazy Horse mentioned here reminded me of being back in seventh grade. I had read every horse book in the library and done all my mandatory book reports on horses. In frustration, the teacher demanded I do a person next time or face detention. I chose Crazy Horse. I had a hard time convincing her he was a real person. I don't know which was sadder to me-that she had no love of horses or that a teacher did not know about a great chief! At any rate, it is nice to know other people feel like I do about Seattle Slew,horses, and Crazy Horse. I am looking forward to your Breeders Cup blogs and articles.

22 Sep 2010 10:31 AM
Karen in Texas

Thanks for another special historical account, Steve! You tell the stories like no one else.

22 Sep 2010 10:31 AM

Wow...Steve, your writing has once again transported me back in time to a magical place among legends and giants. Starting to read one of your articles is like stepping into a time machine and the acceleration is breathtaking!

Seattle Slew was a giant in spirit if not stature and his indomitable will is passed down to his descendants seemingly undiluted. Oh how fortunate we are to have shared time with him.

DrFager01 and all the grooms privilege to have lived with these champions, you make all of us jealous!

Thanks Needler in Virginia, Aluminaut and all the other commentators for your special recollections.

22 Sep 2010 10:37 AM

Three Chimneys gallops their stallions if they can and one of the best pictures of Seattle Slew is the 20th anniversary of his Derby win, at age 23, galloping, dragging Angel Cordero out of the saddle, you can tell Angel's talking to him...what memories the two must have shared that day!

22 Sep 2010 10:42 AM

Slew was the "cover boy" for the March 1999 Lands' End catalog.  Inside was a charming article entitled "It's About Heart" and told the story of Tom Wade, who was Slew's stud groom for close to twenty years, and their special relationship.  Wonderful article.  Three Chimneys was (is?) one of the few stud farms that exercised their stallions under saddle to keep them fit.  Bet Slew was a handful!  I'd love to hear the stories of those privileged enough to earn this honor!!

22 Sep 2010 10:49 AM
The Rock

Hi Steve,

Off topic question...I was reading your article about Acafella and you had mentioned how impressive his race was @ Golden Gate. I'm not able to find that video anywhere. Would you be able to put it up on this blog?

22 Sep 2010 11:06 AM
steve from st louis

Probably the most mismanaged horse since Swaps. Everything a thoroughbred should be.  

22 Sep 2010 11:15 AM

I loved reading this article.  You always make me feel like I was there at that momment.  

22 Sep 2010 11:24 AM


You're giving me an education on the history of this sport and I'm enjoying all of the pieces you write. I knew very little about this horse before reading your column.  What made the story work was your description of the death of the great Seattle Slew. It is amazing how horses live their entire lives and do everything people ask them to do. When one gives back so much to its owners, handlers, and the fans, its death can tear your heart out. This is something you don't find in other sports. It's one of the things I like about it.

22 Sep 2010 11:31 AM

Lauracrown: how pathetic is it when a teacher doesn't know about Crazy Horse?  I read Dee Brown's "Bury My Heat At Wounded Knee" so very long ago, then passed it on to my daughter while she was in college where she did a paper on Wounded Knee and AIM.  Crazy Horse was never a chief, but he was part shaman, and part warrior, being the most effective battle strategist of his time.  I believe the point to his life was that he never capitulated, and always remained true to the way of the Sioux.  And so it is the same with Slew who, it would seem, could never really be broken or tamed.  Neither Crazy Horse nor Slew ever bowed to anyone.

22 Sep 2010 11:35 AM
Steve Haskin

Rock, go to video section and scroll down to the Angel Island Stakes (believe it was Sept. 15).

22 Sep 2010 11:47 AM

I loved this article, but wish you had mentioned my friend Mike Kennedy, who galloped Slew throughout his time with Billy Turner.

22 Sep 2010 12:07 PM

Theres nothing better than a true horse story, Thanks Steve for filling me in on the tales of Seattle Slew,I didnt know any of this, about his antics, his personality,I only knew that he was great, and had great progeny,that he is one of the best that ever lived to run

22 Sep 2010 12:24 PM

Great article!  I feel bad that the owners drugged him for publicity purposes and ran him in the Swaps.  Truly a special horse.  

22 Sep 2010 12:27 PM
Scott H

Thanks for the memories, Steve. Slew's fall of '78 campaign in NY makes me think of the AC/DC song "Back In Black." Wasn't he a terror?!  He just had a fury for running. I was very blessed to see Slew at Spendthrift (where he paid more attention to me than to my sister) and at Three Chimneys. You knew you were in the presence of greatness. A call from a Lexington florist informed me of Slew's death. I'd had a dozen roses sent to Hill 'N' Dale for his Derby anniversary. Little did I know...  I don't think we'll see Slew's equal in our lifetime. And if the Almighty has deigned to create yet another realm where birds make music all the day, then we can be sure that Seattle Slew still runs loose on the lead!

22 Sep 2010 12:30 PM

needler - Did you take a picture of your bruise?  Gee, I've been bitten by an ostrich...

DRFAGER01 - Thanks for taking such good care of your horses.

Abbie Knowles - I just love your posts and your enthusiasm!

weekendstorm - Oh to be mooned by Seattle Slew!  Love the Slew O' Gold / Snowball story!

Lauracrown 22 Sep 2010 10:31 AM

Lauracrown - Great story about the Crazy Horse book report!  Scary about the teacher!

Katherine - I've had my breath taken away by that acceleration too!

The Rock - You should also be able to see Acaffella in the Angel Island here:

22 Sep 2010 12:32 PM

Another amazing blog, Steve. The memories of these once-in-a-lifetime horses rolling around in that head of yours make us all quite envious, and your ability to recount them in a compelling way is a gift to us all.

While Secretariat is my favorite horse of all-time, Slew, THE Black Stallion for the ages is a close second.  Not only do I remember him as an emerging 2 YO, and as a blazing comet of a 3 YO, I remember the illness that winter, and the triumph over Affirmed in the Marlboro Cup 32 years ago this week.

I also will never forget preparing for the Derby that May morning in 2002 and hearing the news of his passing.  Just as the passing of Secretariat years earlier, the news of Slew that morning caused quite a pause to reflect on a truly great champion.

Those final years, and specifically those final days at Hill 'n Dale were obviously quite painful for Slew and the Taylor's. While not present at his passing, I know that Slew, who was a very smart being, was hoping that his pain could just somehow stop.  Though my selfishness wanted him to live forever, I'm sure that for the fist time in his life, he understood that it was time to give in. Indeed, Hoka-hey! Slew.

22 Sep 2010 12:33 PM
I Davis

What a wonderful article!  I've said for many years, there should certainly be a movie about Seattle Slew, the consummate Thoroughbred!  He was great on the track and as a stallion.....the best of the best!  I wish someday soon a movie will be made about the great Seattle Slew, the only undefeated Triple Crown winner and the only TC winner who took two races from another TC winner!!  Slew lives on in my heart, and I have devoted several walls in my home to's basically a shrine to the beloved Seattle Slew...a Thoroughbred like no other!!  Slew is second to none!

22 Sep 2010 12:44 PM
Karen in Indiana

Steve, thank you for the wonderful blogs you do. After reading these last ones with Secretariat & Seattle Slew, there are two things I can see they had in common: a determination to win at all costs and LOTS of persoanl attention. It is hard to believe that today's 'big box' trainers would be able to correctly handle a horse like them. Each horse had a personality that demanded a lot from their caretakers. I'm afraid the manager-trainers of today would decide they were too high maintenance to be worth the trouble and we never would have seen them fulfill their potential.

22 Sep 2010 12:46 PM
Al in New Orleans

Tony Leonard once told me that "Slew was the hardest horse to photograph. Because he allways wanted to run".

22 Sep 2010 12:47 PM

Great stuff!  Keep the memories coming.  Next in our 70's flashbacks - Affirmed vs Alydar???

22 Sep 2010 1:19 PM
Bill Daly

The impact that Bold Ruler had upon the 1970's is immense. Not only was he the sire of the great Secretariat, but the grandsire of Seattle Slew and Spectacular Bid! That is amazing.  Slew's sire, Bold Reasoning, was like a comet that blazed across the sky and then was gone in an instant, only to reappear as the sire of one of the most influential horse of all time.  Bold Reasoning was a mercurial horse with untold potential.  He won the Jersey Derby when that race meant something with ridiculous ease. People would have remembered him better had his racing career not been cut short.  Getting back to Bold Ruler, his impact cannot be stressed enough.  In the latter half of the 20th century no stallion with the exception of Northern Dancer made a greater contribution to the breed.

22 Sep 2010 1:22 PM
needler in Virginia

To LACS70, Slew and ruffianruns: I really was VERY proud of my stupid bruise (THAT alone shows what kind of horse nut I am), and have never blamed the horse for just being a horse. And while I didn't photograph my bruise, I DO have pix of both Slew (looking absolutely bored to tears) and his monster son with his tongue hanging out!! Would love to let everyone see them, but all I can do is send an attachment in an e-mail. I have no website and have no idea HOW to upload a jpg to the web. ANYONE CARE TO ENGAGE IN A COMPUTER TUTORIAL?? PLUS, I have an old Mac and NOT a PC, so it just keeps getting better and better.

Truly the memories of that afternoon are still with me, and now because Three Chimneys has SO many stallions, and are so busy (AND liability issues, as well, I'd guess) you can't touch the horses any more. We did get VERY lucky that day....very lucky, indeed.

If anyone wants to see the pix you can e-mail me at needler at ntelos dot net. Don't know if leaving my e-mail out there is allowed here, but I can always try...........

Cheers and safe trips.

22 Sep 2010 1:30 PM
Leslie from Newmarket, On, Canada

Awesome article. Slew was one of a kind and I still remember jumping all over my parents couch when he neared the finish line of the Belmont.

He was One of a kind and there will never be another like him

22 Sep 2010 1:34 PM

Great story for a great horse!!

I have a story I'd like to share. When "Slew" passed away, I wrote on "his" blog this same story, but repeating it is somethng I'll never ever forget!

I started out my venture in the t-bred world in the spring of 1981. I was green as a gourd, new to the business and T-breds in general. I asked if I could go over from the Spendthrift training center to the stallion barns during lunch and see the stallions.

I did get to go and saw some of the greats, Gallant Man, Raise A Native, Majestic Prince to name a few, then there was Slew.

It was lunch time for  the stallions as well and as I marveled at him thru the doors, one of the grooms asked me If I'd like to go in and "pet" him. Of course, not knowing any better, jumped at the chance and ducked under the stall tie and entered Slews' stall.

His lunch bucket was positioned at the far back right corner and he was digging into it. I just boldly walked in and when i got to within a few feet of him I had noticed several of the stallion grooms had gathered at the door, and I thought, I wonder why their watching me go in here?

I found out very very fast!! Slew eyed me and in one leap, his eyes blazing, his ears pinned back and his mouth wide open he lunged at me, i went flying out of that stall, rolling under the stall tie of his door, all the while hearing loud roars of laughter from the grooms that had gathered. Slew only made that one leap at me and then returned to his lunch, pretty much telling me to "leave his domain", but I sure wasn't going to stand inside there and chance it. I've been in the t-bred business since 1981, still am to this day and I've learned a ton of things inside and out about the industry. The #1 thing I learned was on that day and esp. about SS. Don't mess with SS when he's having his lunch! I have a stallion shoe of his and plenty of pictures, but that memory is forever engrained in my head and in a way, very special, because it's my encounter with one of the greatest race horses and stallion to ever grace this land. I doubt many "greenhorns" like myself ever got to walk in on "Slew" during lunch so I consider this "my very own" special time and a moment not many ever got. I look back on it as a good memory, as odd as that may sound, but all in all, it was pretty neat!!

22 Sep 2010 1:40 PM

Over the past week the comments on Secretariat and Seattle Slew that have appeared here has made me regret that Horseracing was not a part of my life in the 70's.I remember the events in a hazy way that 35 year old memories can have when we did not appreciate the moments. What is very apparant is that those who demand changes to the Triple Crown races by changing distances or the timing also do not understand the devotion that these All Time Greats can inspire for the ages. I have seen the 1973 Belmont and thought that it was proof of God's existence. Sounds like I need to find the 78 Gold Cup to introduce me to what must have been one of God's most special creations.  

22 Sep 2010 2:26 PM
Ron Parker

Steve, a superlative piece.  For another take on Slew in a similar vein, visit and click on T/B Profiles for a similarly touching Seattle Slew article.

22 Sep 2010 2:27 PM
Shelby's Best Pal

Mike, thanks for the lunch story.  Steve, I have probably missed it but what is the origin of Seattle Slew's name?  A great name for a great horse!

22 Sep 2010 2:42 PM

Wonderful to read all of your GREAT stories about Slew...I am a hearing-impaired lady, and always loved SLEW deeply in my heart! Slew, and his son, Slew O' Gold have not bitten me when they took us some pictures together as well as other his son Capote, too...Slew O Gold was sweet, and good behavior when we saw him at Three Chimney Farm along with Slew, and Capote plus they invited me to be private to visited the great Ky Derby winner Filly, Genuine Risk---I was pretty surprised and I was glad we saw her there...I had been asked Slew's owners, The Taylors to have make a movie about Slew's life many times on Slew's website...I am sure they will because they are working on it...:) Steve, you are truly a great writer about Slew, Secretariat, and other ones...Thank You Steve on Slew...I missed him very much...Slew was so good to me...I will NEVER forget when my friend, and I went to see him at the Spendthrift Farm...Tom, his groomer, took him out of his stall, and let us to take a lot of pictures on Slew...Tom asked me to come and close on Slew's shoulder so my friend can tried to take some good pictures of me and Slew together...When my friend took the camera then I felt something on my right elbow that Slew had rubbed his muzzle, and I just my face turned around and met his eyes...his head went low and leaned my right elbow and let us closer together when my friend took few wonderful pictures of us together...I will NEVER forget my sweet memories with Slew...I have a big poster of this one of us...Very beautiful and best picture of us...I just wanted thank you Slew for doing like that...I also pet Slew O' Gold's head a lot---he did not bite me yet...John Henry, the great gelding at Horse Park also did not bite me either---he was good to me as well...I suggest you all go to Slew's website and ask his owners, The Taylors that we want them to make a movie about Slew's life...GO do it!! Thanks, again...Myra Jane :)

22 Sep 2010 2:54 PM
joe c.

Got into racing the Riva-Secretariat years, was devastated by Ruffian, then fell hard for Slew the day he took the Champagne.  My new boss-new job-urged me to go to NYC for the Belmont with time off; I stupidly did not.  Never saw my favorite horse run, but got up close and personal to him twice at 3Chimneys. He gave me the Slew eye from his stall one warm August morning.  I'm glad I made it to NYC for my second Belmont to see Swale; later that summer I saw the magnificent Slew O' Gold twice.  I saw Vindication at the 02 Breeders' Cup and was sure he was Slew "come back to life."  Thanks Steve for memories of a special horse and a special time.

22 Sep 2010 3:11 PM

Nice job Steve (do you ever get tired of hearing that?).

Shelby's Best Pal - Seattle Slew was named after Seattle, Washington (some of his owners were from WA).  The "slew", if I remember correctly, was a re-spelling of "slough", which has to do with the flow of water, I think in a delta.  But, oddly, I always thought, the real word "slew" can refer to altitude control in a spacecraft, and Slew always seemed ready to take off to me!

I also remember Bill Shoemaker's story about SS.  He was riding Exceller in the JCGC, and when he went by Slew, he thought they were home free.  Shoemaker said he could not believe that Slew came back at him.  He asked Exceller for more, and got it, and AGAIN Slew came back at him, inch by battling inch.  Shoemaker said he'd take nothing away from Exceller for coming back from 20+ lengths and winning that race, but he also said he never thought Slew "lost" anything that day, that there was the heart of a lion.

22 Sep 2010 3:41 PM
Bill Daly

Correction to my earlier post: Boldnesian was Bold Reasoning's sire making Bold Ruler the great grand sire of Slew.

22 Sep 2010 3:43 PM

Seattle Slew......I just love hearing and saying the name. I would also be interested to know how his name came about. These are truly the good ol' days of racing.

I haven't been on these blogs for months...Been keeping up with Haskin on facebook, but after printing out this story and reading everyone's comments I realized I missed this. The comments and stories are awesome.

22 Sep 2010 3:44 PM
Tony coworker @ wweld1967


My son and I had the oportunity to visit 3 Chimneys in 2000. They paraded their top studs including Seatle Slew. All total we saw about $100 million plus in horseflesh.They told us at the time that Slew started to have back problems and they took us to the breeding shed where they showed us a wooden platform that they designed to help Slew mount his mares and make it easier for him to continue breeding.It was a fascinating experience. Thanks for bringing back memories.

22 Sep 2010 3:52 PM

I saw Slew late in his life at Three Chimneys. Had a chance to get fairly close to him and take his picture. I was waiting for the perfect moment to capture one of my favorite horses...after a few seconds he looked over at me disdainfully, as if to say, Come on man take your picture already!

At that very moment I snapped the shutter and have a great memory of him staring me down, just like he had so many times on the track. Great story Steve!

22 Sep 2010 3:59 PM


You have such a great gift.  Your gift is a true, loving heart and soul that enables you to capture in the written word the very essence of what makes this sport different from any other.  The thoroughbred and the people who surround them.  Those horses are not "just animals" they are noble, generous, determined, beautiful creatures like no other.  The 70's was a decade of GREAT horses, 3 TC winners and The Bid.

Seattle Slew was one magnificent thoroughbred.  I loved him and I told my brother as we watched his race against Affirmed that Slew would win and he did.  So many great memories of him.  

I was fortunate to have visited with him twice in 1988 and 1989.

He was huge and gorgeous!  I remember rubbing his huge chest while he watched me the whole time.

He was majestic.  I even got to see him bred to an Argentinian mare.  It was not breeding season as it was the first week in November and I was in Kentucky for the Breeder's Cup.  I had spoken at length with the farm manager and taken a tour of the farm with 2 men from the UK.  We were standing in the stallion barn and there was a mare in the breeding shed prepped for a stallion.  Well, the stallion was Seattle Slew, who, by the way, knew he was going to the shed as he let out a roar like a lion!  It scared the 3 of us standing there!  Then we were asked if we wanted to observe the breeding and went into the observation room and I learned a great deal of respect for the people who handle the stallions and mares at a breeding farm.  It went off without a hitch and that is to the credit of those people attending those two horses.

I was very upset when I learned that he was ailing before he died and was so glad his owners were with him.  Horses like Slew only come around once in a great while although I don't think there will be another like him.  The 70's gave us those 4 great horses and we would be hard pressed to see any others like that but each spring we are ever hopeful.

Thanks so much for your heartfelt observations of both horses and their human connections and bringing the true depth of emotion of their stories for us to enjoy and appreciate.

22 Sep 2010 4:16 PM

Steve, what can I say that hasn't already been said? I loved reading your article. Seattle Slew was a bit before I got into horse racing, but I've read about him in the past and he instantly became one of my favorite race horses of all time. Reading your story with all of the characters involved brought tears to my eyes. You've profiled Secretariat and Seattle Slew. You know what's next, right? Affirmed. With pictures, please. ;-)  

22 Sep 2010 4:24 PM


22 Sep 2010 4:53 PM
mike williams

Seattle Slew was much maligned by the media as being a mediocre race horse and that he faced only average opposition.This followed him all thru his 3yr old and 4yr old campaign, until he defeated Affirmed and ran his heart out in the 1978 Jockey Club Gold only to lose by a nose.He was the best after the great Secretariat.He was the 2yr and 3yr old champion,champion Handicap horse,leading juvenile sire,leading sire and I believe leading broodmare sire.It is quite an accomplishment and will never be matched.

22 Sep 2010 4:55 PM

Mr. Haskin,

You prefaced this piece with " I am posting this rather lenghty blog on Seattle Slew..." Rather lenghty? As far as I'm concerned, it was way too short but contained so many gems that, as usual, I was overcome with emotion by your words and also by the many comments that followed. Another "tour de force" to add to my growing collection of your works. Thank you, once again, for keeping the flame alive by bringing the great ones back to life. You ARE the BEST!  

22 Sep 2010 5:19 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   That's funny. That's exactly what I thought. It wasn't lengthy enough. Hardly any of his articles are. I always want more. Who wouldn't? One of the great writers of all time in the midst of his peak. I'm hoping for a jockey series also when there is a lull for this extremely popular and in demand writer. He's busy as a beaver. Jockeys are underrated and underappreciated. I'm sure Steve Haskin has some great stories and insight. Maybe it's not politically correct to say little but they are the little warriors with big hearts, and courage beyond belief. The great ones are courageous, and calm under pressure and pass that on to their mounts. The horses will pick up on nervousness and timidness and lack of confidence and it will show in their performance. The horses are the big warriors. It takes a little warrior and a big warrior working in tandem to produce greatness.

22 Sep 2010 5:42 PM
Pedigree Shelly

       I think Seattle Slew was one of the greatest of all time !

He will live on forever through his champion son AP Indy !

22 Sep 2010 5:42 PM

Because I am so moved by the article I just read at the link suggested by Ron Parker, I won't be able to comment on the new wonderful stories and memories that have been added this afternoon, but thank you all.  Get your favorite beverage, a box of kleenex and follow that link for more on Seattle Slew.  Wow.

22 Sep 2010 6:25 PM

Good job. Wonderful story. SO sad we have to go back 30 yrs. So, can you work your wonders on a rich compelling story for the youngin's..a horse of the 90'sor Millenium? Give the young fans something to grasp..or have all the factors not made this possible anymore. Reach in your bag of tricks and give us something a new something memorable to catch the spirit of racing. Racing needs it. Please, it can't be that Cigar and Zenyatta are our only guideposts in 30 yrs?

22 Sep 2010 7:04 PM

First-how come someone can use the same tag as mine?  I don't do caps.

Shelby: Mickey Tayler was a logger, and the slough is the storage pond for the logs floated downstream by numerous logging companies. It's pronounced slue.  When the Slew started running, everyone mis-pronounced his they changed the spelling from Seattle Slough to Seattle Slew.  Hope that helps.

And Mike Williams, it is so true that the media was not kind to Slew in the 70's.  Guess they've all eaten their words since.  Meanwhile, Steve Haskin knew.  This tribute is beautiful.

And Billy Turner still has horses running at Belmont.

22 Sep 2010 7:41 PM
Laura -Into_the_Mystic

Wow!! I am sitting here once again with goose bumps and tears in my eyes.

He is the THE horse that started it all for me. Slew will always hold a special place in my heart and I will be forever grateful for him helping me to see what my passion in life would be, and to all the wonderful places and people I have met along the way.

Thank you again Steve.

22 Sep 2010 8:07 PM

Arlene: There simply hasn't been a Triple Crown winner in 32 years....that may be a hint.  But there are more recent heroes...Point Given, Sunday Silence, Azeri, Personal Ensign, Genuine Risk, Lady's Secret, Easy Goer, Curlin, Tiznow, Ghostzapper, ...etc...etc.

22 Sep 2010 8:26 PM
firewalker 1

a very dear friend of mine ,rest in peace !Don Murphy ,all his horses came seattle slews lines . he was damn proud to say that. rest in peace Don / seattle slew !

22 Sep 2010 9:02 PM
Robin from Maryland

Well done as always.  I think the "Slew" line will continue for a while.  Not only a champ on the track but also in the shed.  Just goes to show all those billionaire  wannabes that sometimes its the cheaper horse in the sales ring that becomes The Champ. RIP Slew, you will never be forgotten.

22 Sep 2010 9:14 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   The one, the only Slew blogger. I don't know how someone else can use your name but it's scary. The computer should pick that up and spit it out. Programmer !!!!!!

22 Sep 2010 9:40 PM
The Rock

Steve - Ruffianruns,

Thanks for the links. Acafella looks impressive. Let's see if that kick is available on the dirt. But plenty of upside for sure.

22 Sep 2010 10:05 PM

I saw the great Slew in the last years he resided at Three Chimney's.  I went the first time by myself.  As I entered the barn I saw Capote laying on the hay in his stall.  I thought he was Slew because he was black and beautiful!  Then the guide led us over to the left side of the barn and there he was in all of his glory.  His eyes were amazing, his legs looked like tree trunks. His back had swayed but he had the swagger that he knew who he was and what he was. I asked our guide, I think his name was Wes, does he know how important he is and he said "oh yes he knows exactly how important he is".  As he said this Slew whirled around and gave a look as if to say "you better believe it" then turned around and looked out of his back door as if he wanted to go out and fly.  I was working at Fort Knox on a job and when friends and relatives came we took off to see Slew, Slew-O-Gold (handsome son) Wild Again, Rahy, Capote and all the other beautiful horses at TC.  Then over to KHP see the great John Henry and Cigar. Then over to Clairborne to see one of the great studs ever, Danzig and Unbridled. Danzig was still handsome but had arthritic knees and had damaged his eye rubbing it in his stall. But he like his dad Northern Dancer is in almost all the greats if you check the bloodlines. Thanks to all of the farms for letting us see these horses after the track. You can also go to Secretariat's and the other famous graves at Clairborne. Such wonderful memories.

22 Sep 2010 10:47 PM

Horses like "Seattle Slew" come once in a lifetime to thrill its owners, trainers, jockeys and punters, long remembered after their brilliant accomplishments on the race-track.An excellent and touching tribute to a great horse.

22 Sep 2010 11:05 PM


The program sees Slew (you) and slew (the other) as two different entities. So do we! The all caps was a definite clue that the new slew was not the Slew we knew. lol!

22 Sep 2010 11:32 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I could be zookeeper !!! By not capitalizing the z. Slew is Slew the original human blogger, slew is slew the new human blogger, Slew is the Slew horse that won the Triple Crown. I'm getting awfully confused.  A Slew by any other name is still a rose. I guess as long as the new slew uses all capitals in the post. Maybe they'll settle it out of court.

23 Sep 2010 12:42 AM

Steve: You've done it.  I awoke in the middle of the night.  I don't remember the dream, but the great Slew was in my head.  I went to open the window for some fresh air, and only then discovered my cheeks were wet because I had been weeping in my sleep.  The emotions you dredged from within me, ran very deep.

Dr D. and Zookeeper: I've contacted Bloodhorse about the tag because I find it disconcerting to have to explain myself by saying, "I'm the Slew with the big "S".  Why, that's downright embarrassing, because I don't think I have a big "S" at all.

23 Sep 2010 2:38 AM


The program sees Slew (you) and slew (the other) as two different entities. So do we! The all caps was a definite clue that the new slew was not the Slew we knew. lol!

Re"  Zookeeper,  Are you hanging around with Bellwether?   If you start posting like him,  I will have to become a drunk to read these posts.    lol.

23 Sep 2010 6:01 AM
Fran Loszynski

I wear my Seattle Slew pin to this day when I want a racehorse that I love to win. Thank you Steve for the touching recount of the way he left this good earth- If I may take the liberty- Today I will wear it for "Afleet Express" in hopes his injury is only a set-back and we can take the Express out of the station next year. He has the heart of his Dad Afleet Alex and is a champion like Seattle Slew. It's ironic I should read this story today with the Express out for the year-yes I will wear my Seattle Slew pin all day today.

23 Sep 2010 8:16 AM

I feel more than fortunate to have been able to see him at Three Chimneys on several occasions. I also saw him gallop on their Fibar wood fiber gallop that surrounds the stallion paddocks. I am honored to have met him. He has always been one of my favorites. Thank you for the great article.

23 Sep 2010 9:35 AM



23 Sep 2010 10:24 AM

I was fortunate enough to be rubbing horses at Longacres when Slew came through and paraded for us. We were all sad that he'd just gotten beat at Hollywood Park but we were grateful to be able to see him in the flesh. Remember that was all long before simulcasting etc, and getting any real information was always word of mouth because the DRF was so limited and if a race wasn't televised you could only hope you knew someone who was there or anxiously awaited the results from the form.

My then-husband was a jockey in WA and Slew's gallop boy borrowed his race boots to wear for the parading, so we felt just a tad closer than anyone else that day with a little Slew sweat on them! I have plenty of grainy old photos to go along with the memories. Thanks Steve!

23 Sep 2010 11:35 AM
russell maiers

Thanks Steve for a really great story. With everything Zenyatta has done as well as Sea The Stars or Makibi Diva or the many other great horses of these modern times, I stll cannot even begin to comprehend what the 1970's brought us. I look at it, as Mickey Mantle once said about the year Roger Maris hit 61 homeruns. As great a feat it is, the one record that year that will never be broke is the three New York Yankees that hit over 150 homeruns between them. What a decade and to finish it with what could be argued the best of them all, the Bid. I was in and finishing high school then and Slew entered my heart and never left.

23 Sep 2010 12:02 PM

OH, that brought tears to my eyes.  I would love to own a book or movie about Seattle Slew.  I was young when he ran, but I knew him with thousands of other fans.  I almost bought a grandson of his out of Washington. What an amazing story, and you wrote it so well.  Thank you.  

23 Sep 2010 12:17 PM
Linda M

ahhhh, my mighty Slew.  What a horse with attitude and personality.  I will never forget the first time I saw him at Belmont.  The horses running in the first race left the paddock, I hung around, and all of a sudden 3 mean were holding on for dear life to this "dragon" of black rearing muscle.  I knew immediately it was Slew.  He was out for a practice on how to behave.  Hahaha.  He sure was a handful.  In future races, he always did his high-strung "thing", that he had to be saddled away from his adoring fans. Then he would arrive on the track and knew exactly what to do.

And yes, his greatest race was the Jockey Club Gold Cup.  I was fortunate enough to be sitting with the owners and trainers.  Affirmed had a rabbit running for him, and to see the effort Slew put in and losing by a nose....I tear up at this, was unbelievable.  Owners, trainers, we all had tears in our eyes.  

And Slew's final race, again I was lucky enough to be there.  What was mind boggling, was to see all the license plates from around the country for the farewell of the MIGHTY SLEW.  In the paddock, he never did his dance or his high-strung antics, and I said "OMG, he can't go out losing.  He got to the track and looked up at the stands as if to say "I will show you I can be a gentlemen and run away from all the other horses.  AND THAT HE DID.  

I was so lucky to see him at Three Chimneys.  His groom brought him into the ring, so I could mush, kiss, pet and hug him.  Awesome, and he was so good with me.  And then again, I have a very uncanny connection with all horses.  A day I will never forget, that I had to go back the next day, before continuing my journey, just to see him again.

SEATTLE SLEW, A HORSE FOR THE AGES.  I still miss him but I have photos of the 2 of us and 2 photos of his final victory.

23 Sep 2010 12:20 PM

I love his Derby! After he missed the break, he looked like Larry Czonka, or John Riggins running up the middle with would-be tacklers flying, in order to take the lead before the clubhouse turn - unforgettable!

23 Sep 2010 2:45 PM

I just returned from a trip to the Lexington area and was very, very, fortunate to see my heroes due to the Equestrian World Games.

Your story of the great Seattle Slew is the perfect cap to racing champions.  

Thank you a hundred times over.

23 Sep 2010 4:02 PM
Zipse at the Track

Slew was the single most gutsy horse I ever saw.  Wonderful piece Steve!

23 Sep 2010 4:22 PM

Zookeeper and sodapopkid - you need to warn people first - coffee in the nose is not fun!  LOL!!!  Slew, we know who you are.

23 Sep 2010 5:45 PM

Russell, I think you're right...what a decade...3 TC's, The Bid, Alydar, Sham, Forego, Exceller, Susan's Girl, Ruffian, Dahlia, Ack Ack, Riva Ridge, Foolish Pleasure, Davona Dale, Honest Pleasure, Shuvee & TaWee at the end of their careers...Genuine Risk at the beginning of hers...

23 Sep 2010 5:58 PM

Mr. Haskin,

I was visiting YouTube today and stumbled into a prank played by West Point Thoroughbreds on some actual West Point cadets. At some point, towards the end of the video you appear along with Lenny. Where you in on the joke or did you think that some real scandal was afoot?

If you guys want to see it, go to YouTube and type West Point Thoroughbreds Prank in the search window. The whole thing is a hoot and our Mr. Haskin and Lenny appear at 3:35 in the video. It was shot at Belmont in June of 2009.

23 Sep 2010 7:59 PM


Bellwether 23 Sep 2010 5:34 AM

Zookeeper and Txhorsefan,    If you dont need a fifth of liquor or some moonshine to try to figure this out, then you're a hell of alot better off than me.

"Long Live Life with Liquor"....

23 Sep 2010 8:04 PM

It's a shame we didn't have the Internet in the 70's...

23 Sep 2010 9:10 PM

Wonderful article.  Slew was a wonderful individual.  Sometimes it is so sad to hear about what goes on with owners and trainers.  

23 Sep 2010 9:55 PM
Linda in Texas

Mike, enjoyed your attempt at having lunch with Seattle Slew. Good thing you were fast on your feet and took the hint before he smacked you.

In an earlier blog i mentioned i thought

Slew was a sweetheart. And Dinky Diva said he knew he was ornery and had first hand information.

I can now mention that my reference to his being a sweetheart was simply the way he handled his pain which he probably had had for quite some time. Arthritis of the spine is painful and rules your whole attitude. Sometimes you have no idea where your legs are going because your brain becomes separated from the

process of walking and that is what happened to him, you have good days and bad.

But especially sweet also to me was his last day and his farewell to his canine companion Chet i believe was his name when they touched tongues as if to say so long. I read this on Seattle Slews web site which is really special if you have not been to it.

Everyone has been so nice and respectful and the new bloggers are refreshing with their kind words. One, though, needs to change their post name. Perhaps they are new and did not know there is only one Slew poster.

I almost bought one of Slew's retired racehorses that was in California and advertised as being up for adoption. But before i could get the trailer together and a driver to help me someone jumped at the chance. He was a beautiful black one.

23 Sep 2010 10:29 PM
Linda M

Steve....such a great job on your writings of our champions.  Of course, Slew is my all time fav.  Keep up the good work Steve...I always look forward to reading your blogs.

And to all you Slew fans, I was furious when the Taylors decided to send him to Calif just a few weeks after a grueling UNDEFEATED Triple Crown Run.  Abuse and very much greed.  A champion with wild eyes and black bulging muscles.  I probably have every article from Newdsday that was written about him and whatever memorabilia there is.

23 Sep 2010 10:57 PM

Was just noodling around on and came across this interesting fact, which I did not know:

"Homozygous for black, he sired no chestnut foals."

One of those useless facts it's fun to know.  :)

23 Sep 2010 11:05 PM

Oops, should have mentioned that it was Slew who sired no chestnut foals.  

23 Sep 2010 11:06 PM
Steve Haskin

Sherpa, in the next blog (Sunday), I am linking to a story that is posted on on what if Secretariat raced in today's high-tech world.

Zookeeper, no we weren't aware that it was a prank initially, but figured it out in a few seconds.

24 Sep 2010 1:02 AM

Gentle Readers - Please take your rudeness elsewhere, it's very offensive and mean spirited.

24 Sep 2010 1:39 AM

The West Point thing was a "hoot?" Trying to corner them into dissing and/or doubting a fellow West Pointer? on video?

You know the old saying..."with WP friends like these..." I give the guys credit for just keeping their mouth shut.

24 Sep 2010 8:37 AM

Ron, that was a great link to the "reines-de-course" site...I loved Ellen Parker's last line about SS:

"And while there may be other Triple Crown winners yet to come, how many will bull their way through a wall of horses to win their Derbies, beat other Triple Crown winners, carry 134 pounds?  How many will sire over 100 stakes winners of the highest quality? Not many, we would think.

"But, if by chance a horse should come along whose deep amber eye strikes terror into the hearts of those who dare do battle with him, look deep into his pedigree, my friends. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles.  

"Look and know that Slew is still very much with us."


24 Sep 2010 8:54 AM

On my very first visit to Three Chimneys, we were the only two visitors there and got what amounted to a private tour and we stayed quite a long time. Slew was, of course, the king. And while there were certainly no slouches in the barn (Chief's Crown, Wild Again, Slew O Gold, etc etc) it was Seattle Slew that gave me goosebumps.  When I approached his stall and called softly to him, he snuffled then walked right up to the door... It was like meeting a famous rock star!  We were cautioned about trying to pet him as he could be a touch mean (as evidenced by the missing part of the groom's finger!)  I didn't mind not getting to touch him... I had gotten to see him in person and that's all that mattered.  The next time I visited, he had been moved to Hill n Dale and on the next visit after that, Smarty Jones had been given Slew's old stall.  But every time I go there, I always recall that first time and have the fondest of memories.

Thanks for sharing this column again with us...It's always nice to read these wonderful tributes.

24 Sep 2010 9:39 AM


"Trying to corner them into dissing and/or doubting..." Aren't you carrying this a little further then the pranksters intended?

At least we agree on one thing: Tiznow! :)

24 Sep 2010 10:34 AM

Tears flow as I read your account of S.S.'s life and those who developed him.  I was at Aqueduct for his final race and still have a $2 win ticket that I bought just to remind myself in future years of my complete adoration of this great thoroughbred.

24 Sep 2010 1:36 PM
needler in Virginia

To all, I have the absolute proof that you COULD touch Slew on occasion....very seldom, true, but on occasion he would stand for it. It's of my husband with his hand on Slew's withers and the stallion manager on the end of the shank. Slew appears sound asleep or, at best, bored. JUST ASK RUFFIANRUNS......I sent her the pic! The quality is pretty stinky as it's from 1989, and the light from the skylights interfered with the flash, but it's Slew standing for a back rub. REALLY! We were warned, however, to get out of his way once the halterS (PLURAL) went on to take him to his paddock. After that, Slew  was definitely NOT asleep or bored and we just got out of his way. Possibly we saw a horse with multiple personality disorder that day????

Cheers and safe trips.

24 Sep 2010 3:17 PM
Lady Slew

Thank you. I needed that.

24 Sep 2010 4:34 PM

Needler:  Weren't you fortunate.  I don't know about a personality disorder, however.  I think I'd call it attitude, maybe belligerent, but never broken.  I think I loved that attitude the best.  He was the king after all.

24 Sep 2010 4:35 PM

Oh, Needler, that is so cool that y'all actually got to touch him.  In my book it's overwhelming just to be in the presence of such royalty, but actually touching and taking photos - wow.  I'm just thrilled and will always hold dear in my heart that John Henry let me touch him and take a picture and he wasn't known for his kindness either - ha!  And to Serena, you know I think I'd much rather have met Seattle Slew or Secretariat instead of almost any rock star I can think of, but I can imagine the goose bumps.  Its so neat that people are still finding this blog and sharing memories - thanks!

24 Sep 2010 5:08 PM
needler in Virginia

The reason I'm so happy with the back rub for Slew and the bite from his son story is that NO MATTER WHAT THE "EXPERTS" SAY, these guys really DO have personalities and speak to us in horse. All we need to do is figure out what they are saying. Tom Smith knew how to do that, and he got it right a lot. They do speak, and we should listen. And the special ones really do know they're special....Slew damn sure did and Slew O'Gold was big and impressive enough to take your breath away before you even knew his race record. John Henry knew... he just didn't care. They KNOW. Don't they, Steve?? You've met a huge mob of them so you can back me up???

Cheers and safe trips.

24 Sep 2010 6:21 PM


I just finished watching the video that Zookeeper recommended.  I don't find it offensive because it is not making fun or insulting the cadets in question.  They may have been embarrassed by being the brunt of a joke, but it is probably the kind of kidding that goes on between cadets and former cadets  all the time like frat pranks.  I think you have to be a member of that group to understand.


Thank you for saying that you should follow your dreams and do things instead of putting them off.  I am going to HP to see Zenyatta with ruffianruns, Cleone, and Jim C. because of that and we will be thinking of you.  Will let ruffianruns tell about the arrangements she has been making because she tells it much better.

24 Sep 2010 9:00 PM
Linda in Texas

DRFAGERO1 - after  reading your post about Ferdinand and then Greinton, whom i did not know, i looked him up and found he made history winning the first million dollar Santa Anita Handicap in 1986 and is represented by Wasted Tears, 2010 Grade 11 Winner and 12 other winners. He was 29, and had been exported to Germany in 1992. And bred by Stavros Niarchos.

He lived a long life so must have been cared for lovingly. I was away and did not have my computer and i see that his obit was written about in Bloodhorse earlier in this month.

They all make their mark in racing and some leave us so quickly and quietly, i just hope they all know how much they were appreciated.

And thank you for mentioning both.

We all know about Ferdinand of course and my efforts are always against slaughter of horses and Old Friends is always stepping in to make sure Ferdinand's fate never happens again to another American Thoroughbred Racehorse.

25 Sep 2010 12:55 AM

Scott - Your flower story is one of the sweetest things I've ever heard.  Thanks for your post.

needler - Thanks so much for posting your email address and then emailing me the photos - they're wonderful!  I really appreciate your stories, too.  And, yes, Slew looked asleep and didn't seem to mind your husband's arm on him at all.  He's SO BLACK!  Slew o'Gold couldn't keep his tongue in his mouth, except for the outside pic.  Why isn't he sticking out his tongue in the outside pic?  Too funny.

Very touching memories from all.  Thanks folks.  Thanks again Steve.

25 Sep 2010 12:59 AM

As Peggy said, many of us are meeting at HP.  We have a reserved box and have room for one more person and maybe two (if I call and check availability).  We have a great deal (essentially the same price as General Admission), and we want to share our good fortune.

Our group honors the great Steve Haskin (I have his permission).  There will be a race named after our group, and most of us get to go to the winner's circle after our race.

If you are interested in meeting us at HP for Zenyatta's race, please email me at pics.cec at gmail dot com.  FCFS.  Oh, and some of us will be doing our own thing, some of us are hanging out together.  It's all pretty low key.  I guess it may seem weird to offer this, but take it or leave it.  We don't really need anyone else, but, again, we want to share what may turn out to be a once in a lifetime event.

Thanks again Steve.

25 Sep 2010 1:29 AM

Peggy, I'm thrilled for you all.  Then you will live without regret.  My get up and go skedaddled on me, so I hope you won't mind if I remain extremely jealous of your HP visit.  Oh my, I'm am turning a vivid green right now.  Have fun, enjoy life, and toss the Zen a kiss from me, please.

25 Sep 2010 8:23 AM
John T

Frankel won the Royal Lodge Stakes

at Ascot today in awesome fashion

by 10 lengths and he looks like a

colt from the top drawer.His dam,

Kind was very fast up to 6 furlongs

and his sire,Galileo won the Epsom Derby at 12 furlongs so it looks like a good combination of speed and stamina.Only time will tell of course if he can be talked about in the same breath as horses like Seattle Slew,but he certainly has made a good impression in his 3 races so far.

25 Sep 2010 10:58 AM
needler in Virginia

ruffuanruns, m'dear...I'd bet Slew O'Gold kept his tongue in his mouth 'cause he had a shank running over it at the time, OR maybe he thought he was having his picture taken for the cover of SI, OR maybe he was just being as classy standing as he was running. Who knows? MAYBE he did it so that all these years later we'd ask "why wasn't your tongue hanging out in that shot in 1989"?

Thanks for the kind words and HAVE MORE FUN AT HP THAN SHOULD BE LEGAL!

Cheers and VERY safe trips.

25 Sep 2010 11:21 AM
Bonnie J Alonzo

I am proud to say that I have the great honor of having one of Seattle Slew's great grandson's. His name is Judge Moore. He has all the guality's of Slew. He is just as beautiful and he has a wildness that demands respect. I have not idea how this horse ended up in my hands, but I saved him from the slaughter house. He has raced for 5 years, he is 17 now. I am looking for any owner's,after he got off the track for helpful information for me, in his training.He is the spark in my life and everytime I touch him I think of how lucky I am to have him and he is mine. If anyone has any info on him, please call me at 574-215-8019. My name is Bonnie.

25 Sep 2010 12:38 PM

Slew - As Peggy said, you have been an inspiration to us.  I wish you would join us - there's a special surprise!

John T!  Thanks for posting how Frankel did!  Ten lengths!  I was waiting for this race and have just been too busy planning my trip.  Your news is a need shot in the arm!  How great for everyone.

needler - That's exactly why he kept his tongue in his mouth!  So I'd be asking a million years later.  I still owe you an email.

Bonnie - Good luck with Judge Moore.  A good resource might be Dan Illman from the DRF blogs.  People ask him questions about more info on older horses sometimes.  You have to leave the question in the comments and then a blog or two later he gets to people's questions.

25 Sep 2010 4:17 PM

Ruffianruns...oh how I would love to join you and pay homage to the Queen.  Unfortunately, I'm still here trying to find my skedaddle.

I hope you all have one of the best days you've ever seen...and I am so happy you're going to be there!

Frankie Dettori had a great day at Ascot.  He took Poet's Voice a nose past RipVanW.  Makfi didn't fire and Canford Cliffs scratched due to a bad scope.

25 Sep 2010 6:53 PM

John T,

Thank you for the news of Frankel's win! The Blood Horse has an article about him and I finally got a look at him. He's beautiful! You were the first to bring him to our attention and I thank you for that and for keeping us updated on his progress. He looks very promissing.


Bravo for saving Judge Moore! He may be the spark in your life but you're the angel that saved him. My best to both of you!


Today, 2 descendants of Seattle Slew: Morning Line by Tiznow and Apart by Flatter won their respective race. How fitting since the Great Sire of Sires & Dams is the subject of this blog. Indeed, Slew is still with us! Hope you saw these races, they were both quite impressive.

Dr Drunkinbum,

Are you out there? We haven't heard from you lately. Are you on a sabbatical? Hope you're OK.

ruffianruns is cooking something good... More on Mr. Haskin's next blog on Sunday. Stay tuned. It's an offer you can't refuse! :)

25 Sep 2010 7:23 PM
Linda in Texas

Bonnie J Alonzo, thank you thank you thank you. There is absolutely no reason why a  great grandson of Slew's should be in the tenuous situation that would allow slaughter. The horse i was speaking of was held by a rescue organization that i believe had secured them from a holding pen in Arizona. Actually the killer buyer notified the lady who rescues horses.There were many having come from a breeding farm that was dissolving in California and the rescue organization lost contact with the owner. So if you got this horse thru a California based rescue organization and he was being held in Arizona en route to Mexico, you could very possibly have the one i was wanting. I believe his adoption fee was a mere $4,000 if it was the one. That was approximately 2 years ago if memory serves. I read about all of the horses up for adoption on The Horse. I do remember that the killer buyer even had the papers on all he had in the cab of his transport trailer that went with the horses he had and that is how the rescue organization at least knew who was who.

So good for lucky you. And even better, great for Judge Moore. This is a story with a happy end to know whether or not it was the horse i was considering.

25 Sep 2010 7:30 PM

Jealous and excited all at the same time - yep, that would be me.  I am so excited for those of you who are actually getting together to meet up at Hollywood Park and watch Zenyatta and all the special surprises y'all have lined up - that is just so cool.  At the same time, I'm sooooo jealous - lol!!  I hope y'all will have a wonderful, fabulous time and will share all the details when it's all said and done.  Bonnie, I hope you can find out more about your boy Judge Moore - he sounds wonderful.  Thanks, John T. for the comment on Frankel - that's so exciting - I hope he continues to do so well.  Thanks again to Steve for getting this wonderful blog going.  My heart is so happy.

25 Sep 2010 7:39 PM


I'll try to look for you at Hollywood Park on Saturday.  I cleared my schedule, but you never know what'll come up and I may have to do company work in the A.M.

Hope you and everyone else have a great, great time!

25 Sep 2010 9:57 PM

So very happy to hear that Tiznow has another stakes winner!!!!I picked him in the poll.

25 Sep 2010 10:01 PM


I just read your post about the box and race named after Steve.  I don't need to go to the winner's circle, but I sure would like to say hello to everyone and it's great to honor Steve H.  

When my Dad retired from Del Mar many years ago, they named a race after him and my family went to the winner's circle to do a trophy presentation.  I saved the program, but I have no idea where it is now.    

25 Sep 2010 10:10 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I've only been gone a few days!!! Me, Dr. Dingleberry, Dr. Quack, Gilligan, the Skipper too, the millionaire and his wife took Slew on a three hour tour, a three hour tour that lasted longer than it was supposed to because of the storm but it seemed to help Slew get over her identity crisis. During the storm the Minnow was tossing us around and Slew hit her head and was talking about how proud she was of winning the Triple Crown. Then another giant wave hit and she was back to her old self, blogging up a storm of her own. All is well. Hope everyone has fun at the track!!!! And a safe time for humans and horses too!!!!!!

25 Sep 2010 11:28 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I just watched Mine That Bird's Derby. He looked a lot more muscular than he has his last few races. I have my Derby Dozen already. Is it OK if I post it on the next blog or do I have to wait for Derby Dozen?


   Isn't Frankie Dettori the world's greatest jockey? Hope you're feeling OK.

ruffianruns, Peggy, Cleone, jayjay, Zookeeper and whoever else is going Oct. 2. Have a great time. I'm glad some of you that weren't going to go are able to go. I do believe that you'll have a special time and bring some good luck to The Queen. She'll be looking for you. If she paws the ground that means she saw you there, and is saying thank you for your support. Hope we learn more Sunday. A race named after you, winner's circle, cooking up something, an offer that can't be refused, huh?? Cloak and dagger stuff, mafia offers, Julia Child's new recipe, I hope we get to read the ending on Sunday, too much suspense for me. Give us details !!!

26 Sep 2010 12:10 AM
Matthew W

Was on the apron, in 77, watching the Swaps--68K fans/no infield/very crowded...Slew broke off out of the post parade...he was gassed at the head of the stretch---got a standing "O" upon his return---J O Tobin was a nice horse, no way in Slew's league--few were....

26 Sep 2010 12:29 AM

Zookeeper: While I was hoping for a First Dude and Golden Mocha win, I still was not disappointed by the Derbies.  Morning Line looked so much like Tiz Now when he came out to the track, I couldn't help but root for him too.  I wanted Golden Moka to win for Rene Douglas, but Apart was super sensational with his late run.  Couldn't deny who was best in LA. I love those near black horses. There are not many horses running today who have not been touched, genetically, by Slew, Secretariat, and Mr. Prospector.  We have been given so much by a few stallions who stole our hearts so long ago. If they had a pinky finger, we would be wrapped around it.

I too am missing Dr. D. and wonder what's up.  Hope all is well.

26 Sep 2010 8:42 AM

Wahooooo! Dallas got their mojo back (or the Texans just suck that bad).  I didn't see the game, so I can't say.  Cheered my daughter up by predicting Saints would have a miracle with 40 seconds left...

they did...overtime now.  Who dat nation doesn't want to lose to their arch rival, Atlanta.  And the wheels fell off the Giant's discipline left on that team.  Titans prevailed.

26 Sep 2010 4:24 PM
John T


  You are very welcome.I first got

interested in Frankel.s year older three-quarter brother Bullet Train

who is by Sadler,s Wells and won his only start as a 2 year old.At 3

this year he won the Lingfield Park

Derby Trial but was never a factor

in the big race at Epsom Downs itself.Frankel though is a different story,so different it now

looks like he will run in the Dewhurst which is usually the toughest 2 year old group 1 in England to win.He still has the option of the Racing Post Trophy but whichever race they choose for him he will be put away for the winter after that and his first main goal as a 3 year old will be the first leg of the English Triple

Crown,the 2000 Guineas which is run on the same day as the Kentucky Derby.

26 Sep 2010 8:14 PM


I'm glad SOMEBODY loves the Cowboys! (Jokiiing!)

26 Sep 2010 8:18 PM

Slew, txhorsefan - Thanks for the good wishes.

Dr D - You're too funny!  Thanks for the good wishes.

So the Cowboys DO know how to win.  Bummer about the Saints.

26 Sep 2010 9:15 PM

Slew and I looked after both of us with Karen for 26 years, nine months and 18 days.

Thank You


26 Sep 2010 9:32 PM


26 Sep 2010 9:35 PM

John T,

I like the expression "put away for the winter". It reminds me of growing up in Quebec and sadly putting our summer clothes away until the next year. I now live in California... different country, different weather (no kidding!), different ways of doing things. We do not put our horses away for winter. We move them to milder climates like Florida or Louisiana. California horses race all year. Good connections give their horses a rest period when they need it.

Please keep us informed about Frankel. His name alone is enough to make him important to us and now that we've seen a picture of him, we are doubly impressed. Hope he keeps winning! But even if he doesn't, it's nice of you to give us news of him. Thank you!

26 Sep 2010 9:50 PM

Ahh Zookeeper...Steve likes Dallas too, and now he can give tit for tat with Lenny who laughed at his team in the last They're Off.

Unfortunately, the Saints did not have a second miracle as Atlanta got a FG in overtime.  27-24

27 Sep 2010 1:38 AM

Mickey...Oh my gosh! The Mickey and Karen Taylor?  If it is...thank you for one of racing's greatest gifts.  I remain in awe, not only of Slew, but all of your family too, and I really have to thank you for the loving care you diligently gave to one of the greatest of all sires.  He'll always remain in my heart, and I'm sharing his story with my grandchildren.  You utterly amaze and humble me.  Thank you for Slew.  I believe Slew will always be watching over you.

27 Sep 2010 7:28 AM

PS.  and I know he was thanking Slew the horse and not Slew the mouth.  I just find it amazing that Steve's blog, and all the lovely comments have moved him to do so on this blog.  Here come the tears again.

27 Sep 2010 7:42 AM

Wow! I thought it possibly could be THE Mickey but then I said to myself: "Naw! That would be too great." If Slew (the blogger) is right... we are deeply honored and I join her in celebrating the love between owners and horse epitomized by Karen & Mickey  Taylor and the great Seattle Slew. Awesome! (Is it too good to be true?)

27 Sep 2010 10:38 AM

If that really is Mickey - that is TOO COOL!

I just have to take some time here to thank Slew the Mouth.  

27 Sep 2010 3:55 PM

Thank you again Steve for this fantastic look-back on an often overlooked triple crowner.  I've forwarded this article to so many people, horse racing fans or not, and they are very gratified to hear the details of his life and also 'the end of the story' that often few hear.  Thanks for this great service you are doing for these beloved champions and their connections~

27 Sep 2010 4:33 PM

Zook and ruffianruns...sighting was THE Mickey Taylor.  wow.  When I saw his lovely comment, I actually started gushing.  Keep your Elvis and Beavis.(or whatever)..Seattle Slew is MY rock star.

27 Sep 2010 4:47 PM

Slew - I understand the gushing.  I have a tendency to do that too.  Absolutely no worries.  You've got a great rock star.

27 Sep 2010 7:19 PM
needler in Virginia

Mr Taylor, thanks to you for posting here; I'll speak for everyone and say we are honored. Now I'll ask the question that I'm sure you've heard before and probably can never answer fully: what is it like to hold lightning in your hands??

Cheers and safe trips to everyone.

27 Sep 2010 8:23 PM
My Juliet

   I have enjoyed this article & the comments @ the great Seattle Slew. I was too young in 1973, but I could understand & appreciate what the dark bay colt gave us all in 1977, what a gift to the racing world. Slew can claim what even the great Secretariat can't, to win the TC while undefeated, also beating another TC winner. For yrs I felt slight envy toward those who could experience Secretariat. The videos & books are nice but there is nothing like living thru it. But I had Seattle Slew. I'll always remember that.

    It is so great to read @ how his owners cared for him like that, right by his side the last wks. This great horse deserved no less.

27 Sep 2010 8:45 PM

Long live Seattle Slew through his get!  He's an influence for stamina that keeps the speed.  So nice of Mickey Taylor to visit the blog.  I bet he's real proud of Slew's 4.2 mil grandson helping out the bloodstock market.  

27 Sep 2010 9:09 PM


If you haven't read it yet, take a look at the Legends Bold Ruler book.  Slew's grandsire, and Secretariat's sire, he was a tough, fast colt who ran ran like the wind with quite a handicap.

27 Sep 2010 9:19 PM


I'm floored! This week has been so exciting to me, I can't believe it. Great blogs, great plans and now Mickey Taylor's visit among us?

Big hugs to you and Karen, Mickey. You made our day!!!

27 Sep 2010 9:47 PM
My Juliet

    Mr. Taylor, I loved reading @ how much you and Mrs. Taylor loved this great horse, like your own child. What a priviledge to see you on here.

27 Sep 2010 10:03 PM
My Juliet

  Needler in Virginia, well said, and simply the best question Seattle Slew's owners could be asked.

27 Sep 2010 10:37 PM

Wow.  I wanted to add my voice to the chorus of those thanking Mr. Taylor for joining our blog, for contributing more to our knowledge and love of his great horse.  In my opinion it's an honor that he chose to speak up and acknowledge how much the great Seattle Slew meant to him and let us have a chance to thank him for the care he gave to our equine hero.  Thank you once again, Steve, for your brilliance in bringing us these beautiful stories, and thank you Mr. Taylor for sharing with us.

28 Sep 2010 10:18 AM
wash. horse lover

What a great horse. What excitement it would have been to be there watching him run.  Doing what he knew no other horse could do better than him.  With this movie coming out about Secretariat it is good to see that Seattle Slew is not forgotten. Thank you Mr. Taylor for sharing your story with us.

29 Sep 2010 2:37 AM
Thinus Verdoes

At Saratoga a few years back I recognized Billy Turner who had a horse in the meet that day. Just going by his business not recognized by anyone. I made my way over to him and said, " You were Seattle Slews trainer weren't you? He replied: :" That is a long time ago. You have a good memory." I felt that I touched Slew that day. I did get Billy's autograph and I think he was flattered. I should call him Mr. Turner. His horse unfortunately ran last that day.

29 Sep 2010 2:42 PM

My memories of slew are forever.I took my brother (who passed away last year) to the florida derby to see him race and either the flamingo or fountain of youth.I have pictures of him wearing #5 from the florida derby in the paddock -post parade and entering the starting gate.It was so hard to take snap shots with a throw-away camera at that time with soo many fans .Now -a days tracks are empty except for the triple crown races.He was and will always be my favorite horse of all time.

29 Sep 2010 11:36 PM

Why isn't Billy Turner in the Hall of Fame?

30 Sep 2010 12:25 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I would say that's a very good question. He should be in there in my opinion. He trained a Triple Crown winner. That alone should do it, but he accomplished a lot more than that, and had other very successful horses. He's a great trainer.

01 Oct 2010 3:21 AM

Steve, I have to share a story with you.  My oldest grandson is in the Marines, at boot camp.  He wrote in late August, asking me for letters, and begging me not to talk about horses.  Aha!  Since training at Parris Island is intense, he doesn't have much time to respond to letters, so I have me a captive audience.  With our age gap, there's little we actually have in common, and I have been stumped for a narrative.  Your blog about Slew was so moving, I thought he should read it, so with every letter I send, I add 2 pages from the blog.  Like it or not, he's learning about Slew and Secretariat.  By the time he graduates in November, he'll know not only about his weird family growing up, but also about some stellar champions.  Hopefully, something will sink into his subconscious, and he'll know not only was grandmom a little crazy, she was also a lot crazy about horses,...and he may even discover the why for himself.

01 Oct 2010 9:37 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I beg you, don't buy me a yacht.

01 Oct 2010 12:53 PM

Cute Dr. D...but...remember...the key word is crazy.  Hey, do you remember "Adventures in Paradise" with Gardner McKay, (from J. Michener) or from the pen of Jack London, the series "Adventures of Captain David Grief"?  That's the baby I want..2 masted, hundred foot schooner...heaven!..and Tahiti too.  And the grandkids will still be force fed horse racing.  oh well.

01 Oct 2010 3:50 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

No, I don't remember, but I did see Jack London's house in Glen Ellen, California. Big weeekend of racing but I was really looking forward to Rachel running also. Am most eager to see Twirling Candy, one of the most talented horses I've ever seen. His first race with the big boys, and he's favored. He will have a dynamic effect on The Classic. We could see a record setting time tomorrow if he likes the surface, then he'll be one of the top four favorites in The Classic despite never running on dirt. Expecting a big run from Blame to propel him to Classic favorite at 2-1. There are many other good races as well. There are about 12 on my list. My top 2yo Jaycito is running too, and now has Mike Smith as his jockey which works out good since he's a closer. Have a great weekend Slew.

01 Oct 2010 11:46 PM
Antoinette Brocklebank

I will always have a special place in my heart for him, lots of happy memories  and great stories about him and how I was lucky enough to make Slew's jockey silks and cap for his Triple Crown Win.  What a great year 1977! What A Super Horse!

02 Oct 2010 9:43 PM

DR D: Wolf House; I thought it burned down.  Had a great weekend, but no sleep or food on Saturday, so many little time.

I recently read an HRTV blog where an analyst didn't want Zen to go to the BCC for fear she might lose.  Geez...where's the sport gone?  All I know is that I love Zen.  Most of all, I loved Slew, and it never mattered whether he won or lost. He was so magnificent to watch, and he never gave up.  Why on earth would Zen give up now?  It's much too simplistic to just tally wins.  In horse racing, "how you played the game" still counts...and Zen is a pro.

04 Oct 2010 10:17 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Wolf House did burn down, but there is a stone home still there that he lived in while he was building Wolf House.

04 Oct 2010 11:51 AM
Audrey Heiligman

seattle slew!!!

07 Oct 2010 1:17 AM
AJ from SC

I have always been a Slew lover and one of his sons is the foundation stallion at my farm.  For all of Slew's independence and fight, he passes a certain gentleness to his offspring and down to theirs.  My horses by other stallions are much more flighty than the ones by my son of Slew.  Thank you so much for the insight this has given me.  

14 Oct 2010 5:52 PM
Joe Elario

The Slew will always be my favorite of all athletes , I met him as a four year old in Saratoga , I photographed him at Spendrift Farms in "79 .

I do have one of his shoes ( & Affirmed as well ) that I treasure .

He was a Great Racehorse & Sire , long live is story.


10 Nov 2010 9:30 PM
steve aguirre

Seattle is a great inspiration for horse owners anywhere. I always thought what if i could have an offspring someday. I am a small time owner. Well now i have one and the more i read about the slew the more i can relate to my mare by the name of lady icon. Very little races for her age and i have three races behind me with three seconds and she is one healthy horse that actually looks like the slew and runs like him. Loves to come from the back. She is resting now and i may start her up again in the spring. Don't know why more wasn't done with her being a grandaughter of the Slew. I read about the Slew and then go out to the barn and spend alot of time with her. I think she is a replica of the Slew just a little taller and now i am proud to be part of the great Slew. I hope to find the right cross to bred her and try to keep the legacy going. Thanks for the inspiring story about the Slew

17 Nov 2010 5:17 PM

Slew and Zenyatta are my heros.

12 Jan 2011 10:50 PM

Thank's so much Steve for the great article on the best-ever thoroughbred, Seattle Slew!! I loved watching his races on TV and visiting him in Kentucky many times over the years after he retired.  I flew from Virginia as often as I could to see him.  The final visit was in September 2000 when he was recovering from his first surgery.  I was so fortunate to see him being walked by the Taylor's.  They allowed me to walk along with them and Slew and ask questions and talk about their great horse and all his races.  I was actually meeting and talking with Mickey and Karen Taylor!!  It was thrilling.  I told them in my mind, Slew regained the lead in the Jockey Cup Gold Cup at the wire instead of one jump after.  I couldn't see it any other way.  Slew was immaculately groomed that day in 2000.  His coat shined with good health and he was dark black and very racy looking as he pranced along.  Karen watched his every move.  I had never seen him look so good as he did that day.  He was 26 and looked much he did when he was still racing.  When it was time to leave and Slew was back in his stall, I stood briefly...and one of his windows for one last look.  He noticed me and walkked over.  I knew I was not supposed to touch him, but I could not resist.  I reached my finger through the bars of the window and touched his nose.  We made eye contact and I talked (whispered) to him briefly and thanked him for everything he had accomplished and for "just existing."  I told him how important he was to me and how I had followed his career and those of his sons and daughters.  His races excited me and to see him thrilled me.  I sort of had the feeling that I may not see him again after that visit, so I wanted to tell him just what he meant to me.  He just had that special something that captured my attention and imagination from the moment I first saw him in the Champagne Stakes to his final race at Aqueduct.  I loved his catch-me-if-you-can racing style.  I still love watching his Flamingo Stakes victory on YouTube, to see how effortlessly he left the competition behind.  He could easily have won by 20+ lengths had he not been put back in first gear in the final 1/8th.  He could lay down those fast fractions one furlong after the other.  And I love watching him trounce Affirmed in the Marlboro Cup, and seeing the pre-race coverage of the dancing he did in the post parade to the gate, lead by Forego.  His life would make a compelling movie.  I hope one gets made.  But, if not, I have many many memories of him, and they are vivid.  I revisit them all the time.

05 Feb 2011 12:29 PM

When I was a little girl my dad took me to Longacres racetrack (near Seattle) to see Seattle Slew. I bought a vinyl 45 record of a song about Seattle Slew.  I still remember most the words but no longer have the record.  I don't even know who did the recording.  I can't find ANYTHING on the web about it which is so odd.  Does anyone rememmber this song?

21 Apr 2011 11:51 PM

I have the grandson of Seattle Slew and he has been the love of my life. He runs with his whole heart and has the same wild spirit. He likes applause because the louder it gets, the faster he goes, it's kind of funny.  I wish they would make a movie about Slew, he deserves it. But until then I'm spending everyday of my life with the wind in my hair with wings on my back when my gelding starts to fly.  =) Loved the article.

28 Oct 2011 2:52 AM

Hi Steve, My name is Ross Pearce, and I'm a retired racehorse trainer that once worked for Buckland Farm. I would like to get my father, David Pearce, blacksmith for Seattle Slew, in the Horseshoer Hall of Fame at Churchill Downs. Would you be willing to help me? Thanks, Ross

03 Jan 2013 7:49 PM

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