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Thursday, May 9
Turner, Cordero remember Seattle Slew

ELMONT, N.Y. -- Angel Cordero rode 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew only four times, but it was enough to leave a lasting impression on the Hall of Fame jockey.

"Best horse I ever rode, by far," Cordero said Wednesday morning, one day after Seattle Slew died at the age of 28. "He was an amazing horse. His speed, he could carry for a long time, and he was very strong."

Cordero rode Seattle Slew for the first time in the 1978 Marlboro Cup against Affirmed in the first meeting of Triple Crown winners. After running an easy half-mile run in 47 seconds, Seattle Slew came home like a locomotive, covering nine furlongs in 1:45.80.

"They would have needed an airplane to beat him that day," Cordero said. "It's very rare when you see a horse walk the first part and then finish in a time like that."

Cordero also rode Seattle Slew in the Woodward, which he won by four lengths over Exceller. Cordero guided Seattle Slew to a second-place finish, beaten a nose by Exceller, in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and a victory in the Stuyvesant Handicap in the last two starts of his career.

Cordero rode Seattle Slew when the horse was trained by Doug Peterson. Peterson took over for Billy Turner, who was fired after Slew lost the Swaps in 1977. Turner guided Seattle Slew through the Triple Crown undefeated, the only one of 11 Triple Crown winners to accomplish that feat.

Turner said Seattle Slew was not a fan favorite during the Triple Crown, because he was deemed a threat to Secretariat, who had won the Triple Crown only four years earlier.

"Secretariat was the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years and before him there were a lot of people who thought there would never be another Triple Crown winner [after Citation in 1948]," Turner said. "So when he won it, he became a legend. We made a few enemies with Seattle Slew because we were threatening the king, and his realm was being threatened only four years later. It was kind of like people not wanting to see Babe Ruth's home run record broken by Roger Maris."

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