By Ray Paulick --Sometimes it's easy to forget what's important about the game. People can argue long into the night about seemingly important issues like marketing, takeout rates, or medication and drug testing, but then a remarkable talent like Seattle Slew comes along and reminds everyone that the horse is king of this sport.
By Dan Liebman -- There is a controversy over the $1-million bonus Sportsman's Park offered to a horse sweeping the track's Illinois Derby (gr. II) and one of the Triple Crown races. But no matter into whose account that million bucks goes, there is one place it should not have already gone--into the purse of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
It was nine o'clock in the morning on May 7, 2002--25 years to the day since Seattle Slew's historic victory in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The great Thoroughbred gave one final look at his devoted owners, Karen and Mickey Taylor, who, as usual, were by his side. And with his eyes, he proclaimed, as the Sioux warriors used to before going to battle, "It is a good day to die."
The odds of a horse becoming a champion are huge. So are the odds of a horse becoming a prominent stallion. Now, imagine the odds of a horse becoming a great champion and a great stallion. Now, take it to its maximum. Imagine the odds of a horse becoming a truly great champion and stallion. It was those odds, which Seattle Slew beat on both the racetrack and at stud in such a commanding way, that made him such a legend.
John Polston was one day shy of his 57th birthday when he received a call from Seattle Slew's co-owner Karen Taylor, informing him that the great horse he had rubbed for two years had died at 9 o'clock that morning. It was 25 years to the day since Slew's victory in the 1977 Kentucky Derby.
Preakness activity reached its peak Tuesday morning, as War Emblem, Harlan's Holiday, and Booklet worked at Churchill Downs, while Crimson Hero and U S S Tinosa tuned up at Pimlico. The accent was on light maintenance for all the workers except U S S Tinosa, who sizzled his half in :46 2/5.
Multiple grade I winner Fleet Renee will make her first start of year in Friday's Pimlico Breeders' Cup Distaff Handicap (gr. III) where she'll likely meet the likes of Canadian champion Dancethruthedawn and graded winner Atelier, along with eight other rivals.
Trainer John Ward said Tuesday he's ready to "ambush" Saturday's Preakness field after Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. I) winner Booklet worked a half-mile in :48 and galloped out in five furlongs "1:02 and change" at Churchill Downs under Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day.
The board of directors of the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association on May 13 reinstated executive director Marty Maline, who had been on a paid leave of absence in connection with an internal investigation into the organization's finances.
Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem and Harlan's Holiday, who was unplaced as the Derby favorite, both worked at Churchill Downs on Tuesday in preparation for Saturday's Preakness Stakes. Meanwhile at Pimlico, final works were turned in by Crimson Hero and U S S Tinosa.
Gaines-Gentry Thoroughbreds is suing a prominent Central Kentucky insurance company for negligence, fraud, and breach of contract associated with the coverage of a Storm Cat--Beautiful Bid foal and the stallion Indian Charlie.