Seattle Slew died in his sleep at 28 years old, on the 25th anniversary of his Kentucky Derby win. He was the last living triple crown winner. The last time there was no living triple crown winners was in 1919.
Seattle Slew got stud fees as high as $750,000. He won $1.2 million in purses. He was sold as a yearling for $17,500 because he had a funny leg. To put that in perspective, War Emblem, the latest Derby winner, sold for $875,000.
A monstrously talented, truly magnificent animal…and by many accounts, the greatest overall Triple Crown history: undefeated through the conquest of the Crown, the only Triple Crown winner to defeat a Triple Crown winner in competition, the only Triple Crown winner to sire over 100 stakes winners. His gradual degeneration in the last year has made his passing not surprising, but no less distressing.
And to add to that perspective, Slew’s younger half brother Seattle Dancer (by Northern Dancer) sold for $13.1 million in 1985–still the standing world record yearling price. That’s the kind of influence this incredible animal had.
Lord Jim, where did you read Slew died in his sleep? Every article I’ve read has only said he died this morning–but not how. Slew went in for surgery last year for the arthritic changes in the spine, then had a second such surgery just a few months ago. I’ve been wondering if the degeneration reached a point where they had to put him down–how terrible to have to euthanize a champion like him!
Meanwhile, as much as I do want a Triple Crown champion, I just can’t get behind War Emblem too much because of all the crap I vented in this thread. As if that all weren’t going on, now we’ve got the Prince (or at least his manager) refusing to split the $1,000,000 bonus War Emblem earned by winning the Illinois Derby (when he was under previous ownership) and Kentucky Derby. Legally, the money is the Prince’s…but keeping it ain’t the sportsmanlike thing to do. Greedy, cheatin’ BASTID!
Ruffian, I didn’t mean to be making a statement for War Emblem, just the lack of a Triple Crown winner. Buying the Derby winner 3 weeks before the race is not exactly my idea of the right way to do things.
But, in this article it says:
“After covering nine mares through February, four of whom are in foal, he was moved last month to the quieter Hill ‘N’ Dale Farm near Lexington. A spokesman said he died peacefully.”
And in the caption for this picture, it says:
“Former Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew died in his sleep May 7, 2002, 25 years to the day after winning the Kentucky Derby.”
How sad to hear about Seattle Slew, especially after seeing him on Derby coverage last weekend.
Since this thread talks about horse racing, I must take this time to recommend Seabiscuit: An American Legend. What an excellent book! Seabiscuit never won a triple crown, but is regarded as one of the best thoroughbreds ever.