07/30/2004 12:00AM

Seattle Slew's sons keep Bold Ruler line alive

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LAS VEGAS - Seattle Slew, the beloved 1977 Triple Crown winner, died in 2002 at the age of 28. Because he was taken out of stud service shortly after the 2002 breeding season, he only has four yearlings from his last crop. Thus, his 30 offspring that are 2-year-olds this year are really his last hurrah, and may add to his legacy.

Seattle Slew only raced three times at 2, winning a six-furlong maiden race by five lengths, a seven-furlong allowance by 3 1/2 lengths, and he ended the year with a 9 3/4-length victory in the Champagne Stakes. The incredible speed and ease of his victories were enough to make him a champion juvenile. I saw his Champagne score at Belmont Park, and I had no doubt whatsoever that I was witnessing something very special.

Seattle Slew's great-grandsire Bold Ruler was one of the dominant stallions of the last century. He led the general sire list seven straight years, from 1963-1969, and again in 1973. He had numerous champions and royally bred stakes-winning colts who were expected to carry on his lineage. Bold Ruler's most influential sons as stallions were Bold Bidder, Boldnesian, Chieftain, Dewan, Irish Castle, Raja Baba, Secretariat, and What a Pleasure. Each of them sired stakes-winning colts who had a chance to continue the Bold Ruler legacy.

Secretariat will go down in history as one of the most influential broodmare sires of all time. His daughters, most notably Terlingua (dam of Storm Cat), Weekend Surprise (dam of A.P. Indy, Summer Squall, and Honor Grades), Secrettame (dam of Gone West), Lady Winborne (dam of five stakes winners including La Gueriere and Al Mamoon), Sister Dot (dam of Dehere), Six Crowns (dam of Chief's Crown), and Betty's Secret (dam of Secreto) were worth their weight in gold. Secretariat's best sons were Risen Star, the 1988 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner, and 1979 Travers Stakes winner General Assembly, but they did not produce an heir to the Bold Ruler sire line.

Bold Bidder's best runner of course, was Spectacular Bid, but Spectacular Bid was a great disappointment as a stallion. Cannonade, the 1974 Kentucky Derby winner, is the lone son of Bold Bidder to have an impact, but it now comes down to his grandsons Awad and Ops Mile to continue his branch.

It appears that Chieftain, a half-brother to Tom Rolfe, will be the first of these stallions to disappear from pedigrees, as his branch has just Fit to Fight and his son Key Contender.

Dewan's best son at stud is the speed influence Glitterman, but his best son, Balto Star, is a gelding, and Dewan's only hope right now is Glitterman's son Texas Glitter.

Irish Castle is represented by a number of male heirs from two of his sons, Bold Forbes and Irish Tower. Air Forbes Won, Badge, Mercedes Won, Bush Won, and Irish Open are the last links to Irish Castle.

Raja Baba also has two sons who are keeping his branch of the Bold Ruler line alive, Is It True and Well Decorated. Is It True's son Yes It's True is one of this year's leading freshman sires, while Well Decorated's sons Formal Dinner, Pulverizing, and Notebook (through Delaware Township, Fappie's Notebook, and Well Noted) are Raja Baba's only descendants left.

What a Pleasure had a great run in the 1970's with Foolish Pleasure and Honest Pleasure, but What a Pleasure's source of continuing his branch rests with Foolish Pleasure, through Foligno, Marfa (whose line includes Farma Way and Cobra King), Maudlin (including Mecke), and Native Factor.

Boldnesian turned out to be the savior of the Bold Ruler line through his stakes-winning son Bold Reasoning. It was unlikely that of all the great runners by Bold Ruler, Bold Reasoning was going to become Bold Ruler's most important conduit. Bold Reasoning sired Seattle Slew, who has had the greatest impact of any Bold Ruler-line stallion.

Because of his sons, Seattle Slew is keeping the Bold Ruler line viable, mainly through the offspring of A.P. Indy and Capote, and their many sons and grandsons. Seattle Slew is also represented by many sons, including Avenue of Flags, General Meeting, Chief Seattle, Doneraile Court, Seattle Song, Slewvescent, and Vindication.

With only four yearlings, Seattle Slew's crop of 30 2-year-olds will have special significance, and some of his colts to follow are:

* Biloxi Palace (colt out of Mining My Business, by Mining). Half-brother to Real Cozzy; dam is a half-sister to Real Quiet.

* Captain Slew (colt out of Mama Dean, by Woodman). Dam is a half-sister to Vicar.

* Christian Eagle (colt out of Accuse, by Alleged). Bob Baffert-trained colt is out of a half-sister to Epsom Derby winner Benny the Dip.

* Council Member (colt out of Zoe Montana, by Seeking the Gold). Maiden winner finished second in two Group 2 races, the July and Coventry stakes in England.

* Harbor Master (colt out of Harbor Springs, by Vice Regent). Three-quarter brother to Boston Harbor; dam is a half-sister to Groovy.

* Herring (colt out of Premium Win, by Lyphard). Half-brother to Tight Spot and Valiant Nature.

* Hurricane Force (colt out of Dokki, by Northern Dancer). Full brother to Sleep Easy and three-quarter brother to Aptitude.

* Landslide (colt out of champion Flanders, by Seeking the Gold). Full brother to Surfside.

* Slewlessnseattle (colt out of Skatingonthinice, by Icecapade). Full brother to Chief Seattle.

* Ugotta (colt out of Doe River, by Kris S.). Winner of only start in Canada; dam is a half-sister to Sir Beaufort.

* Valiant Slew (colt out of Miss Valiant, by Valiant Nature). Dam is a half-sister to Fleet Renee, Future Leader, and Future Quest.