Nicknamed “Baby Huey” because of his small size and illness, Seattle Slew, America’s 10th Triple Crown winner in Thoroughbred racing in 1977, eventually became a “big daddy”.
After frail beginnings, Seattle Slew followed his track success by siring such greats as Swale, Slew O’ Gold, and A.P. Indy. Seattle Slew’s daughter Solar Slew foaled the champion Cigar.
SOLAR SLEW and CIGAR:
Retired in the Fall of 1978, Seattle Slew began just as quickly to establish a solid stud career. His triple classic championship and his $1.2 million in earnings commanded breeding attention.
Slew’s unbeaten daughter, Landaluce, and Swale both died unexpectedly at two and three, respectively. Cigar, foaled by another Slew daughter, Solar Slew, captured many titles in the 1990s. Cigar also ranked as the leading money winner in North America with over $10 million in racing earnings before Curlin and California Chrome came on the scene.
Cigar triumphed in the Dubai World Cup, and he equaled 1948 Triple Crown champion Citation’s 16-straight win streak.
SWALE and A.P. INDY:
Syndicated for $12 million (twice as much as Secretariat in 1973), Seattle Slew began his stud service at Spendthrift Farm, then went to Three Chimneys Farm, Lexington, Kentucky, where he stayed. He was 1984’s leading sire.
Swale, of Claiborne Farm, trained by Woody Stephens, won the 1984 Kentucky Derby, putting Seattle Slew on the short list of Derby champions who sired Derby champions. Swale was named 1984 Three-year-old Champion Male, as he also won the Belmont Stakes that year.
A.P. Indy was successful in the 1992 Belmont Stakes and that year’s Breeders Cup World Championships Classic, and earned HOY (Horse of the Year) hardware. He sired many stakes winners himself.
ON THE TRACK
After breaking his maiden at Belmont Park in New York on September 20, 1976, in his very first race, Seattle Slew raced an allowance contest on October 5th of that year. He was timed at six furlongs in an incredible 1:10-1/5.
Just 11 days passed before Slew stepped onto a track again. His trainer, William H. (Billy) Turner, Jr., entered the bay colt in his first graded one stakes race, the Champagne Stakes.
Responding like the champion he was to become, Slew dumped the favorite two-year-old, For the Moment, by nine lengths! His time, clocked at 1:34-2/5, was the fastest mile ever run by a juvenile.
That performance, combined with an unbeaten record, albeit in a modest three races, earned the Slew the 1976 Eclipse Award as Champion Two-year-old Colt.
Soon after, in 1977, Slew captured the Triple Crown championship with speed and late charge ability, earning him HOY honors a second consecutive year, to go with the Champion Three-year-old Colt trophy.
In 1978, Slew, older and wiser, convincingly beat the year’s Triple Crown champion, Affirmed, by 3 lengths in the Marlboro Cup. The race marked the only time in history that two Triple Crown champions faced off.
The effort put yet another piece of hardware in Slew’s trophy case — the 1978 Handicap HOY Eclipse Award.
Baby Huey survived adversity to rise to every occasion and was a champion to cheer to every finish.
Photo of Thoroughbred racing courtesy of http://www.pixabay.com