Foaled in 1974 in Kentucky, Slew was first described by a breeding manager as “ugly.” A plain dark bay – nearly black – colt, Slew had no white markings, big floppy ears, and a domineering personality.
The colt was rejected from the prestigious Keeneland yearling sale based on pedigree and appearance. Instead, he went to a more open Fasig-Tipton auction and was sold for $17,500; the owners were two young couples from Washington State – Mickey and Karen Taylor and Jim and Sally Hill.
From the moment he set foot on a racetrack, Slew proved himself to be a born runner. The colt began at Belmont with an easy five-length victory in a six-furlong maiden race. He ran twice more at two, enough to be named two-year-old champion. After two easy Grade 1 scores in the Flamingo and the Wood Memorial at three, he headed to Churchill Downs.
Caught in traffic after a troubled start, Slew emerged a 1 3/4 length winner. In the Preakness, he won by a length and a half. At the Belmont Stakes, he broke from post 5 over a muddy track and took an authoritative lead from the start; though momentarily pressured by Sanhedrin near the quarter pole, Slew maintained the lead to the finish, winning by four lengths. He became the 10th Triple Crown winner and the first to do so undefeated.
Two months before he was retired, Seattle Slew defeated the heir to the Triple Crown, Affirmed, in the Grade 1 Marlboro Cup at Belmont Park. After a successful stud career – Seattle Slew sired more than 100 stakes winners including A.P. Indy, Swale, and Slew o’ Gold – he died on the 25th anniversary of his victory in the Kentucky Derby.