Given the retirement announcement for one of Seattle Slew’s last crop foals, Council Member, made this week, it seems appropriate that this Saturday’s stakes races so fittingly demonstrated the 1977 Triple Crown winner’s breeding influence.
Of course he was represented by progeny of his son A.P. Indy, including Music Note and Little Belle (2nd and 3rd respectively, G1 Alabama, Saratoga) as well as Serenading (1st, Belle Mahone S., Woodbine), but many forget that Seattle Slew’s daughter Charming Lassie birthed Lemon Drop Kid, whose progeny includes Windward S. (Presque Isle) winner Drop a Line and G3 Iselin (Monmouth) third-place finisher Kiss the Kid.
Other key Seattle Slew sons include Slew City Slew whose son Seeyouinthecity won the Humphrey S. Finney S. (Laurel), but it is his and his sons’ daughters who also strongly continue his influence. Thus, Saturday’s stakes performers included:
• G1 Del Mar Oaks third-place finisher Lethal Heat, whose dam Lethal Leta is by the Seattle Slew son Synastry.
• G3 Gardenia (Ellis Park) winner Swift Temper, whose second dam Gorgeous is by the Seattle Slew stallion Slew O Gold.
• G3 Gardenia third-place finisher Unforgotten, whose dam Forgotten Secret is the daughter of Seattle Slew son Secret Slew.
• Partners Star, winner of the Anna F. Fisher Debutante Stakes (Ellis Park) whose second dam is the Seattle Slew mare Highbury.
• Hypocrite, Donthelumbertrader Stakes (Calder) victor, whose damsire Gold Meridian is a son of Seattle Slew.
Although he died on May 7, 2002 (at age 29) of natural causes, Seattle Slew has his own website where, among other things, you can view a listing of his most prominent offspring—Capote, Landaluce, Swale, Vindication, Doneraile Court, General Meeting—as well as the best of his daughters' produce—the incomparable Cigar.
Growing up in the 1970s, I had the opportunity to watch the greatest race horses—Secretariat, Forego, Ruffian, Affirmed, Alydar, Our Mims, Davona Dale, Spectacular Bid...and Slew. In 1977, I was recovering from the preceeding years' disappointments of What a Pleasure's sons Foolish Pleasure (1975) and Honest Pleasure (1976) failing in their Triple Crown attempts, so I was totally on the Seattle Slew bandwagon. What's not to like? He was, like Big Brown, far superior to any of the 3-year-olds who challenged him, including perennial runner-up Run Dusty Run, Cormorant (later sire of Derby winner Go for Gin), Iron Constitution, For the Moment (another What a Pleasure son) and J.O. Tobin.
For those who haven’t seen them, here are his three Triple Crown race wins:
1977 Kentucky Derby
1977 Preakness Stakes
1977 Belmont Stakes
While he may not have beat great horses on his road to the Triple Crown, the following year he met 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed in the Marlboro Cup—and won wire-to-wire, solidifying his position as a truly great racehorse. God, I miss horses like those of my youth!
1978 Marlboro Cup