05/23/2012 1:13PM

Triple Crown Winners: Seattle Slew



Secretariat was an impossible act to follow. But in the wake of his achievement, appetites were whetted anew for the taste of another Triple Crown. In 1977, they had a perfect candidate.


Seattle Slew accomplished something not even Secretariat could achieve. The dark brown son of Bold Reasoning went into the Kentucky Derby with an unbeaten record and emerged from the crucible of the Belmont Stakes, 35 days later, still the picture of perfection.

He was also a story the public could love. As a yearling, Seattle Slew sold for $17,500 at public auction. Even by the standards of the mid-1970s, this was a sum most middle-class Americans could get their hands on.

His owners were working people: Mickey Taylor was a lumberman, his wife, Karen, was a former flight attendant, and their partner, Jim Hill, was a practicing veterinarian at Eastern racetracks. Billy Turner, their trainer, was lanky and country-boy handsome – Jimmy Stewart’s little brother – while jockey Jean Cruguet, an earthy Frenchman, supplied a touch of the exotic.

In the end, it was Seattle Slew who made them all look good. Facing 14 opponents in the Derby, he bulled his way through horses after breaking slowly and won by a length and three-quarters. In the Preakness, he was challenged by a European hotshot named J.O. Tobin, but the result was the same: Seattle Slew by a length and a half.

Then, in the Belmont, he controlled every yard of the mile and one-half. Cruguet stood in the irons to begin the celebration even before they reached the finish, four lengths clear of the runner-up. Purists criticized Cruguet’s act, but they could not argue with the sentiment.


OWNER: Tayhill Stable
TRAINER: William Turner Jr.
JOCKEY: Jean Cruguet
BREEDER: Ben S. Castleman

As a 2-year old, won the Champagne Stakes. Swept all his races through the Belmont Stakes without defeat to become the only horse to win the Triple Crown undefeated. Ended his 3-year-old season on a sour note with a debacle in the Swaps. Suffered many set-backs in early 1978, but won the Woodward, Marlboro Cup Handicap, Stuyvesant Handicap, and suffered a gallant defeat in the '78 Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Profiles of Triple Crown winners

Sir Barton (1919) Gallant Fox (1930) Omaha (1935) War Admiral (1937)
Whirlaway (1941) Count Fleet (1943) Assault (1946) Citation (1948)
Secretariat (1973) Seattle Slew (1977) Affirmed (1978) ?