The Slew Crew is mourning the loss of Seattle Slew's champion son Vindication, who was euthanized on Thursday, July 10, during surgery, which revealed an inoperable gastric rupture. We send our deepest sympathies to everyone at John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Farm where Vindication stood stud, Virginia Kraft Payson's Payson Stud who bred Vindication, and Satish and Anne Sanan's Padua Stables who raced Vindication during his championship career.
Vindication rose to great heights at a time when the Slew Crew was truly in need of a reason to smile. On May 7, 2002, Seattle Slew passed away after an unforgettable and amazing career both on the racetrack and in the breeding shed, and after two surgeries to correct spinal cord compression. On the 25th anniversary of his Kentucky Derby (G1) victory, the unmatched champion left behind those who love him, as well as an impressive legacy of sons and daughters around the world.
At this time in California, though, a new superstar son was quietly training for his debut and soon flashes of Seattle Slew's brilliance would once again be seen on the track.
At Del Mar, Vindication made a striking debut, winning a six-furlong affair by 5 1/2 lengths. Later at the same meet, Vindication was sent out again by trainer Bob Baffert and easily won an allowance. The dark bay colt then headed east and toyed with a field of seven others on his way to a six-length victory in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes (G3).
Just shy of six months from the death of Seattle Slew, Vindication went postward in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Arlington Park with three wins from his three starts. Racing the only way that would do his father proud, Vindication stormed to the lead out of the gate and battled through fractions of :23 1/5, :46 and 1:09 4/5. Down the stretch, Vindication was distracted slightly by the crowd but jockey Mike Smith kept him to task. Charging down the lane with an impressively effortless stride, Vindication won the 1 1/8-mile race by a widening 2 3/4 lengths. For those watching that day, it seemed Seattle Slew had descended from the heavens to run with his son and give him the easy strength to defeat his 13 rivals.
Named the champion male two year old of 2002, Vindication injured his left front suspensory ligament the following winter. Retired in the summer of 2003 to Hill 'n' Dale Farm undefeated and truly untested in four starts, Vindication was well received by breeders. In his first crop of juveniles, Vindication sired Grade 2 winner More Happy and Grade 1-placed Maimonides. This year, Vindication's sophomores include stakes winners Ferragamo and Truth Rules (winner of Saturday's Long Branch Stakes), and Gotham Stakes (G3) third-place finisher Larrys Revenge. Vindication is currently ninth on the 2008 Leading Second Crop Sires list.
Vindication, who is currently represented by more than 40 winners, will eventually be represented by five crops of sons and daughters.
A son of Grade 3 winner Strawberry Reason (Strawberry Road [Aus]), Vindication was sold at the 2001 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale for $2.15 million. His three-quarter-brother Scipion (A.P. Indy), a Grade 3 winner, just stood his first year at stud at Murmur Farm in Maryland.