Seattle Slew, the oldest living Kentucky Derby winner, began the 2001 breeding season at Three Chimneys Farm on Monday.

Seattle Slew, the oldest living Kentucky Derby winner, began the 2001 breeding season at Three Chimneys Farm on Monday.

Associated Press/Rob Carr

Recovered Seattle Slew Begins 2001 Breeding Season

From Three Chimneys Farm
Seattle Slew bred his first mare of the 2001 breeding season on Monday morning, February 12 – opening day for the Three Chimneys breeding shed.

Seattle Slew successfully bred Dreams of Success, a 4-year-old maiden mare by Dixieland Band owned by Denali Stud and Barry Weisbord. "Seattle Slew bred confidently and aggressively, and physically seems to be in great shape for the breeding season," commented Three Chimneys Farm stallion manager Sandy Hatfield.

"Once again, I cannot say enough about the care provided Slew by all the veterinarians and the entire Three Chimneys team that made possible his return to the breeding shed," said syndicate manager Mickey Taylor. "His 27TH birthday is on Thursday, February 15, and you wouldn't know he's 27, let alone what he was going through a little under a year ago."

"We expect Slew to breed a book of 46 mares on shareholder and breeding right holder seasons," said Three Chimneys owner Robert Clay. "We will monitor his schedule and if we get a number of mares wishing to be bred at about the same time, we will recommend that the mares come to Three Chimneys prior to ovulation and remain until the optimum breeding time for each mare – to maximize breeding opportunities for Seattle Slew. But from a physical and semen quality standpoint, Slew looks to be in great shape."

Seattle Slew, now officially 27 by the Thoroughbred standard birthday of January 1, is the oldest living Kentucky Derby winner and is the only horse to have won the Triple Crown having never been defeated. He is the sire of 92 stakes winners from 19 crops, including millionaire and 2000 Eclipse Award winner Surfside and 2000 Breeders' Cup Sprint runner-up Honest Lady. Seattle Slew and his sons were the sire or broodmare sire of four of the nine 2000 Eclipse Award winners. He is the sire of champions A.P. Indy, Capote, Slew o' Gold, Landaluce and Swale and his offspring have earned over $70 million on the racetrack. He is one of the leading broodmares sires of 2000 and his leading sons at stud include Capote, A.P. Indy and General Meeting.

In January of last year, Seattle Slew exhibited a lack of coordination, but was treated for the symptoms and began the breeding season on schedule on February 15, with excellent initial fertility. A myelogram on March 26 revealed the spinal cord compression caused by arthritic changes, and led to the veterinarians' recommendation for the surgical procedure. At that time, Three Chimneys wrote shareholders, "This procedure.... will hopefully ensure that Seattle Slew will be able to live out his life safely and happily."

On April 2, Seattle Slew underwent surgery to fuse the joint between two vertebrae in his neck. The procedure, called an anterior inter-body fusion using a Bagby Basket, was performed at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital by a veterinary team flown in the San Luis Rey Equine Hospital of California and Dr. John Hubble of Ohio State University.

"Slew's well-being has been, and will always be, our number one priority," said Clay. "He certainly, this morning, seemed happy to return to the breeding shed. And as long as that is in his best interests, that is what we will make possible."