Thoroughbred Champions Earn Their Way

What? Thoroughbred Income?


Thoroughbred racing is a serious sport, and its champions are serious money-earners.

When Thoroughbred racehorse Secretariat won the first American Triple Crown (1973) in 25 years — Citation had last accomplished the feat in 1948 — he was sold into stud  syndication for a then record $6.08 Million. Today that figure would come to a comparable $35 Million.

Secretariat became an instant folklore hero, as well, when he completed the Belmont Stakes, the Triple Crown’s third leg, in record time and by a whopping, unheard of 31 lengths.

American Pharoah:
It was not until 2015 that the next, the 12th ever, American Triple Crown Champion came onto the scene. He was American Pharoah, who then took down $30 Million in stud fees in one year of service.

The biggest racehorse earner in the stud barn today is Tapit, a gray champion of the prestigious Wood Memorial whose progeny are earning more than he did as a track star. But he is booked to 125 mares per season at the handsome price of $300,000 per live foul result.

Horse of the Year in 1938, Seabiscuit earned little under half a million dollars in his racing career. Today that balloons to $7.5 Million.

Seabiscuit was so revered in his racing years that an eventual book about his career and the lives of the men who owned, trained, and rode him became a bestseller on the New York Times list. A movie followed in 2003 and grossed over $120 Million.

Charles Howard, who owned Seabiscuit, thought of his champion almost as a family pet. He never offered Seabiscuit to stud service. Instead, he let his favorite Thoroughbred retire to enjoy a life of leisure in green pastures on his farm.

Roughcraft Art drawing from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg



A Little Slew Legacy


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.

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.

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.

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


LJFF Helps Keep Kids in School


LeBron James, (whether he gets Cleveland to a second straight NBA title, or not), was chosen this season as the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award winner, voted by the Professional Basketball Writers Association. The award is named after J. Walter Kennedy, who served as the NBA’s second commissioner.

The award’s recipient is held to a standard of outstanding service and dedication to the community. Twenty-six nominees for the award are annually submitted to the PBWA, then honed down to five final candidates. Among this season’s other possible recipients were Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls; Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies; CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers; and Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks.

James, at 32, is approaching his twilight in playing time, but one of his legacy’s lasting movements will be his efforts on the behalf of disadvantaged kids, something James himself grew up around.

Improving the educational opportunities of these under-privileged kids is something James emerged himself in after learning the horrendously bad percentages of children in Akron, Ohio, his hometown, completing school.

The LeBron James Family Foundation (LJFF) motivates kids in crisis to stay in school and aspire to college educations, as well. And James is a hands-on, tireless agent for their success.

Sports hero? Role model? LeBron James absolutely fills the role!

Featured Photo is from a portion of the cover of the book “Tournament Crisis”, a Chip Hilton Sports Story, by Claire Bee, 1957, by Mary M. Bee, Grosset & Dunlap Publishers, New York, (from the blog author’s personal copy of the book.)