06/09/2011 4:33PM

Top Belmont Stakes rides: No. 10


10. Jean Cruguet, Seattle Slew, 1977

Seattle Slew was a stone-cold lock to complete his Triple Crown sweep against mostly overmatched rivals, even at a distance that many people thought he would not handle. But jockey Jean Cruguet rode him with such confidence that he threw caution to the wind and stood up in the saddle, yards before the finish line, waving fearlessly to the crowd while risking a fall that could have ruined the great colt’s bid. Yet, Cruguet had no reason to fear such a disaster, as demonstrated by a careful review of the patrol films. Despite a noticeable hingelike wing to his stride, Seattle Slew kept a straight line a few feet from the rail all the way around the track’s soft turns – as if he were being guided by geometry. Cruguet had no balance issue on this horse. He was in perfect harmony every step of the way.

No. 9: Johnny Sellers, Hail to All, 1965 >>