Seattle Slew was foaled on February 15, 1974 at Ben Castleman's White Horse Acres Farm near Lexington, Kentucky. Sired by Bold Reasoning out of the Poker mare My Charmer, Seattle Slew was a beautiful dark brown colt with a small white patch of hair by his left rear hoof.
Bold Reasoning, a grandson of Bold Ruler, was an outstanding racehorse. After winning his first seven races, including the Withers Stakes and Jersey Derby in 1971, he suffered a leg injury. He overcame the injury and returned to the track, which in itself is a commendable accomplishment. An affirmation of his heart and talent came in the form of his admirable victory while setting a track record of 1:08 4/5 for six furlongs at Belmont Park as a four-year-old in 1972. He also finished second in the prestigious Metropolitan Handicap of 1972. He retired that year with 8 firsts and 2 seconds in 12 total races and career earning of 189,564. Considering that he had been bothered by various throat and leg ailments throughout his career, his was a very commendable record indeed.
Bold Reasoning stood for only three seasons at Claiborne Farm before his untimely death on April 24, 1975, when his first crop were yearlings. His demise was attributed to a breeding-shed accident in which he cracked his pelvis. The injury later led to a severe colic from which he had to be euthanized. Among his 61 foals were nine stakes winners (15 percent), including French champion two-year-old Super Concorde. In just two full seasons as a stallion, Bold Reasoning produced Seattle Slew, the most complete thoroughbred ever to be produced by any sire, as well as champion Super Concord, and seven other stakes winners. His premature death was one of the most disappointing that the thoroughbred industry has endured, and it certainly had a detrimental effect on the future of the breed. Considering his overwhelming early success, it is fair to believe that he would have become one of the top sires of the 20th century.
My Charmer had a few things in common with her special foal. She and Seattle Slew were both bred by Ben Castleman, and were both first-foals. Seattle Slew was My Charmer's first foal, and My Charmer had been Fair Charmer's first foal to live. Seattle Slew's eventual owners, Mickey and Karen Taylor, both had an affinity toward first-foals, and for them this was yet another attractive aspect that added to his allure. My Charmer was by Poker, and became her sire's first stakes winner. Inbred to War Admiral and Baby League, My Charmer produced 11 named foals, including three other stakes winners and two-stakes-placed runners. Among those are the successful sires Lomond, a classic winner in Great Britain, and Seattle Dancer, a son of Nijinsky II who became the most expensive yearling ever sold at public auction when he was hammered down for $13.1 million at the 1985 Keeneland July Yearling Sale.
On the track, My Charmer won six times including a Grade II Stakes victory in the Fair Grounds Oaks in 1972.
Her son would have a much more spectacular racing career and leave behind a legendary legacy.
Having been produced by a young and unproven stallion and mare, Seattle Slew was not heralded by those in the industry or media during the formative first two years of his life. But as he developed, he left an impression on every one that came in contact with him and it soon became apparent that his unique talent and charm could not be denied.
Taken to the Lexington auction conducted by Fasig-Tipton Company on July 19, 1975, Slew was sold for $17,500 to Karen and Mickey Taylor. The Taylors and Seattle Slew would form a history-making partnership. Shortly after his sale, Slew was sent to Andor Farm in Monkton, Maryland, where he was broken by Paula Turner and began his journey into becoming a racehorse.
Under the guidance of trainer Billy Turner, Seattle Slew made his racing debut on September 20, 1976. He would win all three races in his stunning and succinct two-year-old campaign. His accomplishments in 1976 earned him the Eclipse Award for being the best two-year-old in North America. In 1977, Slew continued his unmatched championship form by winning six more consecutive races including the Triple Crown. He won Eclipse Awards as the top three-year-old colt in North America and the Horse of the Year.
Seattle Slew's ability to fight through adversity is probably the most important characteristic that set him above all other thoroughbreds. It was never more apparent than in 1978, when he fought off a life-threatening collapsed left jugular vein and its effects in January and returned to the races in May. Veterinarians were concerned for his life and had suggested that he would never race again, but Slew's iron will took over and proved them wrong. During that four-year-old campaign, Slew also overcame a suspensory ligament injury, a filled ankle, and several other hurdles that would have stopped even the greatest of thoroughbreds. But Slew emerged from under all that during 1978 under the guidance of trainer Doug Peterson and produced some of the greatest performances of all-time against some of the greatest competition any elite horse has ever faced. He won the 1978 Eclipse Award as the top Older Male in North America. He most certainly deserved the title of 1978 Horse of the Year, having defeated the recipient of that award on two occasions by a combined 22 lengths.
After leaving the track with a career racing record of 14 firsts and 2 seconds in 17 races and earnings of $1,208,726, Seattle Slew would go on to become a champion again many times over as a sire. A sire of well over 100 Stakes-winners and a champion Broodmare sire, Seattle Slew has earned the title of 'most complete thoroughbred the industry has ever seen.'
He had that special something that no one can ever really truly describe. He had character and a pizzazz that enhanced the raw talent that he displayed as a runner. He simply was the most electrifying and magnetic horse the industry has ever witnessed.
During his life, Seattle Slew rewrote the history books and became a thoroughbred-racing icon. His legend will only continue to grow over time. By exploring this site, you'll learn more about Seattle Slew's racing career, his undefeated Triple Crown, and the continued effect he's had on the sport as a champion sire. Most importantly, you'll get the true account of his training, racing career, and life as a stallion. We strive to give you a "feel" for the unique being that Seattle Slew was, and hope that you will gain a better understanding of that "special something" that allowed Seattle Slew to touch so many lives.