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Triple Crown moment

By BRANT JAMES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 8, 2002

Seattle Slew proved two things: it doesn't take millions to win a Triple Crown, but it does take patience.

A group of friends pooled $17,500 to buy Seattle Slew as a yearling, and in return got the 10th Triple Crown winner in 1977 -- the first to go undefeated -- and one of the leading sires in history.

Slew, under the tutelage of trainer William H. Turner Jr., made his first start in September of his 2-year-old season, the latest of a Triple Crown winner. He didn't begin his 3-year-old campaign until March, but went off as the Derby favorite and chased down For the Moment and held off Run Dusty Run by 13/4 lengths.

Seattle Slew wore down multiple-stakes winner Cormorant to win the Preakness by 11/2 lengths. The Belmont was the easiest of the three tests, as he and jockey Jean Cruguet triumphed by 4 lengths.

Slew's feat helped produce a golden period in racing. With Affirmed's successful Triple Crown run in 1978 -- the last -- three horses accomplished the task in six years.

Seattle Slew was retired in 1978 and began a stud career that led to his designation as a "chef-de-race" in the Brilliant and Classic categories. Among his talented offspring: Belmont winner A.P. Indy, Slew o' Gold, Capote and Landaluce.

Seattle Slew died May 7, the 25th anniversary of his Kentucky Derby victory. His death marked the first time since Sir Barton won the first Triple Crown in 1919 that there is no living winner.

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