08/22/2002 11:00PM

Seattle Slew's owners leaving racing


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Mickey and Karen Taylor, owners of the late 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, will disperse all of their bloodstock holdings in 2002 and 2003.

The Taylors made the announcement Thursday afternoon through Eaton Sales, the Lexington-based consignment agency that will manage most of the dispersal. The dispersal will take place in three phases beginning at Keeneland's November breeding stock sale this year, where about 20 horses will come under the auctioneer's hammer.

Those include four Seattle Slew foals: colts out of Grade 1-placed Footing and stakes-placed Love Quarrel, and fillies out of Artful Pleasure (dam of Grade 1 winner Peeping Tom) and stakes winner European Rose; Artful Pleasure, European Rose, and Love Quarrel will also be sold. The November consignment also features four maiden mares by Seattle Slew - Bay of Angels, Seattle Sashay, Stellar Slew, and Bal Boree - as well as the Storm Cat mare Catspaw.

Also on offer are broodmares Davalia (Dehere), Golden Gale (Summer Squall), Sequence (Dixieland Band), Jamaican Newman (Fit to Fight), Ivorilla (Sir Ivor), War Thief (Lord at War), and Lethal Leta (Synastry).

"Karen and Mickey Taylor bought Slew as a yearling and obviously had one of the great rides in racing history," said Reiley McDonald, who owns Eaton Sales with Tom Van Meter. "He was not only a racehorse to them, but he was also a being they loved. When he passed on, they felt it was time to disperse their stock. That's not to say they wouldn't own a horse sometime in the future, but when Slew passed on, they felt it was time to leave the game."

The Taylors are not the only ones involved in the dispersal, McDonald added, noting that actor Albert Finney is the Taylors' partner in many of the horses. "Albert Finney has been the Taylors' partner in many horses since 1979, and he's involved in a large majority of this stock," McDonald said. "He also was a Slew lover, and if the Taylors thought it was time to disperse, he agreed with that."

McDonald said phase two of the dispersal would take place at the 2003 yearling sales, where about 10 Seattle Slew yearlings will be on offer. The third phase will involve dispersal of the Taylors' remaining broodmares and horses of racing age.

"The reason for doing this in three phases is that many of the foals were very late foals due to mare reproductive loss syndrome," McDonald said. "We think we have four that are forward enough to sell in November, and the rest will probably sell at Saratoga or at the fall sales in 2003."

Fertility troubles pension Slew o' Gold

Seattle Slew's two-time champion son Slew o' Gold has been pensioned because of fertility trouble, according to a Thoroughbred Times report.

Slew o' Gold was North America's champion 3-year-old in 1983 and champion older male the following year. Now 22, he failed to impregnate a single mare at Three Chimneys Farm, where he stood in 2002 for $7,500.

Slew o' Gold got off to a quick start at stud, getting Grade or Group 1 winners Golden Opinion, Gorgeous, Awe Inspiring, and Tactile from his first crop to race. He went on to sire additional Grade 1 winners Dramatic Gold and Thirty Six Red. To date, Slew o' Gold has total progeny earnings of more than $24.6 million from 15 crops of racing age.

Bred by Claiborne Farm, Slew o' Gold is out of the Buckpasser mare Alluvial, who also produced Belmont Stakes winner Coastal and Dokki, dam of Grade 1 winner Aptitude.

Gross and average decline at Ocala

The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's August yearling sale ended Thursday evening with mixed results that showed a decline in gross and average but some improvement in the buyback rate.

The four-session auction in Ocala, Fla., began with a single select day that saw declines across the board. The session sold 135 yearlings for a total of $5,247,700, a drop of nine percent from last year's select session, when 131 lots sold. Average price also fell 12 percent to $38,872, and median slid nine percent to $32,000. But buybacks improved, checking in at 30 percent, lower than last year's select-session buyback rate of 34 percent.

The sale topper was a $200,000 Halo's Image colt out graded-placed stakes-winner Proud Clarioness (Tri Jet) that James McIngvale bought from Celebrity Farm, agent.

The auction's three open sessions sold 627 lots for $5,521,400, down 14 percent from last year, when 686 sold in four sessions. Average price fell six percent to $8,806, but median rose slightly from $5,000 last year to $5,250 in 2002. The buyback rate dropped from 29 percent to 28 percent.

This year, the OBS August sale also included a major reduction in Franks Farms bloodstock. That session sold 81 yearlings for $841,800, yielding an average of $10,393 and a median of $4,500. Top lot was a $95,000 Kissin Kris half-brother to graded winners Littlebitlively and Built for Pleasure. Mark Casse, agent, purchased the colt.