About 200 fans turned out to honor Seattle Slew as his final resting place was unveiled at Hill 'n' Dale Farm near Lexington July 19. The great racehorse and stallion died May 7, 25 years to the day of his Kentucky Derby triumph in 1977.
The ceremony featured remembrances from the Slew Crew of owners Karen and Mickey Taylor and groom Tom Wade, who was Slew's constant companion for the last 22 years. The event took place exactly 27 years after Karen Taylor elbowed her husband, and urged him to make the winning bid at the 1975 Fasig-Tipton Yearling Sale for the son of Bold Reasoning out of My Charmer.
"He was the most complete athlete in the history of Thoroughbred racing," Mickey Taylor said. "He was a sire of champions, a sire of sires, and a great broodmare sire. Slew, you're the best of the best. Goodbye for now."
Karen Taylor, at times sobbing softly as had her husband, called it love at first sight. "Your eye looked deep, touching one's soul. You taught us so much and we will always be grateful to you. You showed such grace, dignity, strength, and courage. To this day, every time we see a son, daughter, or grandchild of yours run, when they are loaded in the gate, we say, 'Good luck, Slew.' "
Tom Wade summed how the horse was treated. "The Taylors told me to give him what he wants and if you don't have it, call and we'll get it."
The program began with the audio calls of several of Seattle Slew's biggest wins, including the 1978 Marlboro Cup in which he bested Affirmed in the first-ever match up of Triple Crown winners.
The gravesite sits on a tree-lined grassy oval at the foot of the beautiful stallion complex at John Sikura Jr.'s Hill 'n' Dale. A statue of Slew stands atop a stone pedestal, with a ground stone bearing Slew's name, pedigree, years, and the inscription "Undefeated Triple Crown Winner."
Seattle Slew won 14 of 17 races and $1,208,726. In his second career, he sired champions Landaluce, Slew O' Gold, Swale, Capote, A.P. Indy, Digression, and Surfside.