08/05/2002 11:00PM

We haven't heard the last of Seattle Slew

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LAS VEGAS - Seattle Slew may be gone, but the last chapter for this magnificent Thoroughbred is far from over. Seattle Slew's career as a stallion was severely curtailed two years ago, and as a result, he has only six yearlings in his penultimate crop and only one weanling in his last crop. But Seattle Slew has

70 2-year-olds this year, and two of them have raised eyebrows from California to France.

Vindication, a 2-year-old colt by Seattle Slew out of a Strawberry Road mare Strawberry Reason, recently won his maiden debut at Del Mar looking like he may be Bob Baffert's big gun for next year's Kentucky Derby. Last weekend, Loving Kindness, a 2-year-old filly by Seattle Slew, followed her maiden victory with a stunning romp in the Group 3 Prix de Cabourg at Deauville, setting her up as the favorite for the Group 1 Prix Morny. Her dam, Coup de Genie (by Mr. Prospector), won the Prix de Cabourg, Prix Morny, and Group 1 Prix de la Salamandre en route to her French championship at 2. Coup de Genie was so highly regarded she made the long trip to Santa Anita for the 1993 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Despite racing on dirt for the first time and acting up in the post parade, she finished a good fourth behind the classy trio of Phone Chatter, Sardula, and Heavenly Prize.

Last year at this time, West Coast observers thought Officer was the second coming of Swaps. Officer had looked invincible, winning his races as he pleased. Based on pedigree, Officer (Bertrando) was supposed to be best at 2, sprinting. While he was much more advanced than his contemporaries for the first part of the juvenile season, they caught up and passed him by year's end. Excuses were rampant for his loss in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (dead rail, hot pace, yadda yadda yadda), but the simple truth was that he was not as good as his contemporaries beyond one mile. Officer had nothing but speed influences in his pedigree, which in addition to Bertrando included Septieme Ciel, Raise a Man, and Ack Ack.

Spend a Buck from same female line

While some of Seattle Slew's sons, such as Capote and Houston, wanted no part of distances over 1 1/16 miles, others, such as A.P. Indy, Slew o' Gold, and Swale were very successful at classic distances. Vindication looked just as brilliant as Officer in his debut, but, unlike Officer, he should get better with distance. Vindication gets a stamina boost from his damsire, Strawberry Road (Nijinsky II) and second damsire, Hail to Reason. Class-wise, his third dam is a half-sister to an influential stallion Cornish Prince, and Spend a Buck, 1985 Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year, also comes from this female line.

Generations of class

While Vindication's pedigree is good, it pales next to that of Loving Kindness. Not only was her dam, Coup de Genie, a champion at 2 in France, her full brother Machiavellian was also a champion at 2 in France when he was undefeated in three starts. Machiavellian is now a world-class stallion, having sired such runners as Dubai World Cup winners Almutawakel and Street Cry, as well as a promising young stallion, Vettori.

The tail-female family (dam, dam's dam, dam's granddam, etc.) is the key to racing class, and Loving Kindness has it in spades. Her second dam, Coup de Folie (Halo) was a Group 2 winner in France and has become a dream broodmare, producing five stakes winners. In addition to champions Coup de Genie and Machiavellian, Coup de Folie is also the dam of Ocean of Wisdom (a full brother to Coup de Genie and Machiavellian), Exit to Nowhere (Irish River), and Hydro Calido (Nureyev). Even Coup de Folie's unraced foals have been valuable. Her daughter Salchow (Nijinsky II) is the dam of Way of Light (Woodman), champion at 2 in France.

The quality of Loving Kindness's pedigree is evident in every generation of her female family. Her third dam, Raise the Standard (Hoist the Flag), is a half-sister to Northern Dancer, and was an excellent broodmare. In addition to Coup de Folie, she also produced Bonita Francita (Devil's Bag), a three-quarter-sister to Coup de Folie. Bonita Francita established yet another wildly successful branch of the Almahmoud line. Bonita Francita is the dam of Orpen (Lure), champion at 2 in Ireland, as well as stakes winners Jules (Forty Niner) and Etterby Park (Silver Hawk). She is also the dam of Black Penny (Private Account), who is the dam of Group 1 Dubai Poule d'Essai des Pouliches winner Bluemamba (Kingmambo).

Natalma, the fourth dam of Loving Kindness, is the dam of Northern Dancer and was stakes-placed, but produced four stakes winners and four stakes-placed runners. While her most famous offspring was Northern Dancer, her impact on the breed is nothing short of phenomenal. She is also the dam of Arctic Dancer, a full sister to Northern Dancer who produced 2-year-old filly champion and Canadian horse of the year La Prevoyante. Proud Citizen (Gone West), second in this year's Kentucky Derby, descends from La Prevoyante, who was undefeated

at 2.

Natalma's influence extends across the globe. Her daughter by Buckpasser, Spring Adieu, produced Razyana (His Majesty), who is the dam of international stallion sensation Danehill, as well as stakes winners Eagle Eyed, Harpia, Shibboleth, and Euphonic.

Broodmares who are inbred to influential females are likely to become valuable producers as well, and Coup de Folie exemplifies this phenomenon, called the Rasmussen Factor (inbreeding to a superior female within five generations through different individuals). Coup de Folie is inbred 3x3 to Almahmoud, one of the greatest broodmares in history. Her sire, Halo, is out of Cosmah, a half-sister to Natalma.

So, with what is essentially his final full crop, Seattle Slew is still making headlines. Expect big things from both Vindication and Loving Kindness.