Slew o' Gold

Slew o' Gold was a thoroughbred race horse who was the best of his generation. Slew o' Gold was the 3-year-old Champion of 1983 and the Handicap Male Champion of 1984, while narrowly missed winning Horse of the Year honors in both 1983 and 1984.

Slew o' Gold's racing career did not begin until October of 1982, late in his 2-year-old season. Even before his debut, he was highly regarded due to his bloodlines, as he was a half brother to 1979 Belmont Stakes winner Coastal on the dam side in addition to being a son of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. After winning his first two races, a maiden race and then an allowance race eight days later, Slew o' Gold concluded his season in the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct as part of the favored entry with Slewpy, who coincidentally was also a son of Seattle Slew. Slew o' Gold encountered trouble out of the start gate, rushed up to engage the early leaders, but encountered more trouble and ended up in sixth place, almost 12 lengths behind the winner Pax In Bello.

Slew o' Gold's 3-year-old season began in unspectacular fashion. He was sent to Tampa Bay Downs to run in the Sam F. Davis Stakes and the Tampa Bay Derby, but finished a disappointing third in the former and a disappointing second in the latter. After he returned to New York, he finally got on track by winning an allowance race in preparation for the Wood Memorial.

The Wood Memorial was run in two divisions in 1983 and Slew o' Gold was made the 6-5 favorite in the second division. In the race, Slew o' Gold broke last in the field of seven, and plodded along in midpack along the inside for most of the race before moving through a hole inside of Parfaitement at the top of the stretch to gain a share of the lead. Slew o' Gold outdueled Parfaitement in the stretch run to win the race by a head, but in a relatively slow time of 1:51 for the mile and an eighth distance.

In the 1983 Kentucky Derby, Slew o' Gold was made a 10-1 outsider by the betting public in a race that appeared to be wide open on paper. Slew o' Gold had a similar trip in the Derby as he had in the Wood, securing a midpack position on the inside for most of the race before making a quick move through an opening on the rail around the far turn. As they straighten out for the stretch run, Slew o' Gold was in third, less than two lengths behind the dueling leaders Sunny's Halo and Desert Wine. Slew o' Gold then shifted to the outside to make a run for the wire, but was unable to catch the pair while being passed by a fast closing Caveat at the wire to finish fourth, 3¼ lengths behind the winner Sunny's Halo.

After the Kentucky Derby disappointment, Slew o' Gold passed on the Preakness to return to Belmont Park, where he ran in the Peter Pan Stakes to prepare for the upcoming Belmont Stakes. Slew o' Gold ran impressively to win by 12 lengths while setting a new stakes record by running a fifth of a second faster than Coastal did four years earlier.

A full field of 15 showed up for the 1983 Belmont Stakes, with the favorites being Slew o' Gold, Caveat, and the Preakness winner Deputed Testamony. Slew o' Gold took his usual inside position in the early parts of the race and slipped into second once the field straightened out on the backstretch. As the field entered the far turn, Slew o' Gold started his move on the outside of Au Point to gradually reach the lead. Meanwhile, Caveat was making a huge move along the inside and was in third place directly behind Slew o' Gold and Au Point when Caveat attempted to bully his way through an imaginary hole between Au Point and the rail. After a little bumping, Caveat made it through and drew off to win by 3½ lengths with Slew o' Gold finishing a clear second. The stewards flashed the inquiry sign to investigate the incident at the top of the stretch, but decided to let the results stand without taking any action.

After the Belmont Stakes, Slew o' Gold went to Monmouth to run in the Haskell Invitational. Slew o' Gold once again had a rail skimming trip, but ran into traffic problems several times, including in the stretch run when Slew o' Gold tried to go through a hole on the rail that closed suddenly. Slew o' Gold finished 6th, 3½ lengths behind the winner Deputed Testamony. Next was the Travers Stakes at Saratoga, where Slew o' Gold dueled with Hyperborean on the front end early on and tired in the stretch to finish second to Play Fellow by 1¾ lengths.

After a somewhat disappointing year running in races restricted to 3-year-olds, it has now reached the time of year to face the top older horses in the Fall Championship Series at Belmont. The first race in this series was the Woodward Stakes, where he met Bates Motel, who had been easily the most impressive horse so far in 1983, and Island Whirl, who had won the Woodward Stakes a year earlier and recently won the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga. In the race, Slew o' Gold sat several lengths off of the early pace set by Mugatea and Island Whirl before making his move around the far turn to gain the lead at the top of the stretch. At the same time Bates Motel was making his move on the outside of Slew o' Gold and the pair drew off from the rest of the field as they headed down the stretch. While Slew o' Gold had been unable to hold off the rallies of 3-year-olds Caveat and Play Fellow in two previous races, in the Woodward he found another gear to keep up with the top horse in training through the length of the stretch to prevail by a nose at the wire.

Next in the Fall Championship Series at Belmont was the Marlboro Cup, where Slew o' Gold once again faced Bates Motel. Slew o' Gold raced near the early pace and opened up a three length lead on the far turn with Bates Motel in hot pursuit. As they approach the stretch with Bates Motel closing in, Slew o' Gold drifted way out into the middle of the track, forcing Bates Motel to go wide as well. The two hooked up again with a long stretch duel, but this time a third horse Highland Blade was able to slip in along the rail to ruin the party by rallying past the dueling pair right at the wire. Slew o' Gold had to settle for second, a neck behind Highland Blade and ½ length in front of Bates Motel.

After running the two best races of his career, Slew o' Gold was now brimming with confidence heading to the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the final leg of the Fall Championship Series. Bates Motel was now retired, but Highland Blade was back, along with John Henry, Play Fellow, Desert Wine, Bounding Basque, and five others. In the race, Slew o' Gold sat off the early pace set by Desert Wine and Sir Mala Mala. After Bounding Basque made his move to pass the early leaders, Slew o' Gold moved up to challenge for the lead. Slew o' Gold dueled Bounding Basque into submission around the far turn, then pulled away in the stretch to win by 3 lengths over a late closing Highland Blade. Slew o' Gold had won two out of three races in the Fall Championship Series and lost the third by a neck. In 1978, his sire Seattle Slew had also won two out of three and lost the third by a nose. No horse had yet been able to win all three races.

After the Jockey Cup Gold Cup, Slew o' Gold was the favorite to win the Horse of the Year honors in 1983. Subsequently, the 2-year-old Devil's Bag was very impressive in winning all of his races, and the filly All Along won the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe, the Rothman's International at Woodbine, the Turf Classic at Aqueduct, and the Washington D.C. International at Laurel Park in a span of 41 days. All Along was voted the Horse of the Year of 1983 with Devil's Bag second and Slew o' Gold third.

Slew o' Gold did not make his first start of 1984 until July 2. He had been pointed for the Metropolitan Handicap on Memorial Day, and then was entered in an overnight allowance race against the top 3-year-old sprinter Track Barron, but minor injuries derailed those plans. Slew o' Gold was impressive when he finally returned to the races, defeating the high quality sprinter Cannon Shell by 7½ lengths.

Slew o' Gold got to face Track Barron next in the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga. The race was a virtual match race after scratches reduced the field to three, and the third horse Thumbsucker was hopelessly overmatched. In the race, Slew o' Gold took the early lead from the inside and held the lead around the first turn. Angel Cordero, the rider on Slew o' Gold, then eased Slew o' Gold off the rail, inviting Jean Cruguet on Track Barron to come through. Cruguet accepted the invitation and gunned Track Barron through the opening along the rail to duel head to head with Slew o' Gold around the far turn and down the stretch. However, although the two horses were heads apart, Track Barron was being furiously ridden and whipped by Cruguet while Cordero was taking it easy and letting Slew o' Gold cruise along. The final margin of victory for Slew o' Gold was only 1¾ lengths, but visually it was a truely dominating effort for Slew o' Gold and an embarrassing one for Track Barron.

Next was the 1984 Fall Championship Series. Waiting for him in the Woodward Stakes was Fit To Fight, who had swept the Handicap Triple Crown series at Belmont earlier in the spring and summer, which included the Metropolitan Handicap, Suburban Handicap, and the Brooklyn Handicap. Run over a sloppy track, Fit To Fight went straight for the lead with Slew o' Gold in close pursuit. The two raced that way for a little over ½ mile when Shifty Sheik all of a sudden slipped through the rail and opened up a 1½ length lead on the far turn. Slew o' Gold took up the chase after putting away Fit To Fight, but Shifty Sheik, a horse recently claimed for a mere $35,000 by Oscar Barrera, was not finished. Shifty Sheik extended his lead at the top of the stretch and looked like a winner, but Slew o' Gold was able to gather himself and make one final surge to take the lead just before they hit the wire to win by ½ length.

Next was the Marlboro Cup. In the days leading up to the race, it was learned that Slew o' Gold was having problems with his hooves and was having these problems throughout the year. Slew o' Gold was fitted with bar shoes for his two front hooves and was not only training in them, but racing in them as well. Despite the foot problems and the bar shoes, Slew o' Gold ran impressively to defeat Carr De Naskra, who was coming off of impressive wins in the Jim Dandy and Travers Stakes, by 1¾ lengths.

In the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Slew o' Gold not only had his two modified bar shoes, he had two new fiberglass patches placed on his right front hoof in order to combat two cracks that were recently discovered. In the race, Bounding Basque went directly to the lead and slow down the pace to a crawl. Bounding Basque lead by 2½ lengths after ¾ miles in the 1½ mile race. Slew o' Gold then commenced his move as did Hail Bold King to join Bounding Basque on the front end entering the far turn. Slew o' Gold, however, was too good, as he started to pull away and doing so impressively, winning by a final margin of 9¾ lengths. Slew o' Gold had become the first and only horse ever to sweep the Fall Championship Series at Belmont.

Having made history in the Fall Championship Series, Slew o' Gold looked to make more history in the inaugural running of the Breeders' Cup Classic at Hollywood Park. However, Slew o' Gold's foot problems had worsen as another crack was discovered in the right front hoof and it was infected. It became questionable whether he would be able to run in the race at all, but a few days before the race, the decision was made to run in the race with the bar shoes, protective fiberglass patches, as well as the painkilling medication bute. In the race, Wild Again went straight to the front to duel with Mugatea and Precisionist until those two had nothing left. At that point Slew o' Gold made his move to join Wild Again at the top of the stretch, poised to blow by him during the stretch run. However, Wild Again was not about to give in despite the punishing early pace. He kept pace with Slew o' Gold down the stretch while bearing out slightly. Meanwhile, Gate Dancer had rallied on the outside and had joined the two leaders with an eighth of a mile to the finish. The three raced together towards the wire, with Gate Dancer bearing in slightly along the way. Gate Dancer's bearing in and Wild Again's bearing out had squeezed Slew o' Gold in the middle so that he had to take up slightly nearing the wire. Remarkably, Wild Again held to win by a head with Gate Dancer a half length in front of Slew o' Gold. After a steward's inquiry, Gate Dancer was disqualified and place third, moving Slew o' Gold up to second, but Slew o' Gold had been defeated.

The Horse of the Year competition for 1984 was down to Slew o' Gold and John Henry. While Slew o' Gold had swept the Fall Championship Series at Belmont, and won every race impressively except for the Breeders' Cup Classic, John Henry had been dominating on the grass while winning 6 of 7, but was winless in two dirt attempts. The voting was extremely close, but in the end, the 10-year-old John Henry was a sentimental winner of the award despite lesser achievements on the racetrack.

Soon after the 1984 Breeders' Cup Classic, Slew o' Gold retired to stud at Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Kentucky. Slew o' Gold was the first stallion to stand at Three Chimneys Farm. In his first season at stud, he sired Grade I stakes winners Awe Inspiring, Gorgeous, Golden Opinion, and Tactile. Unfortunately, Slew o' Gold was unable to replicate this level of success in the remainder of his career as a stallion. Other notable horses he sired include Dramatic Gold, Thirty Six Red, Dr. Root, and Passinetti.

Slew o' Gold was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1992.

In August of 2002, at the age of 22, Slew o' Gold was pensioned from his 17 year stud career at Three Chimneys Farm, which has developed into one of the top breeding farms in North America. Slew o' Gold continued to live in retirement at the farm whose operations he helped to launch back in 1985.

On October 14, 2007, Slew o' Gold was euthanized due to the infirmities of old age at the age of 27, just six days after former rival and fellow hall of famer, John Henry, was euthanized at the age of 32.


Slew o' Gold
 4/19/1980
 bay colt
 DP: 1-4-14-3-0
 DI: 1.20
 CD: 0.14
Seattle Slew
 2/15/1974
Bold Reasoning
 1968
Boldnesian, 1963Bold Ruler, 1954
Alanesian, 1954
Reason To Earn, 1963Hail To Reason, 1958
Sailing Home, 1948
My Charmer
 1969
Poker, 1963Round Table, 1954
Glamour, 1953
Fair Charmer, 1959Jet Action, 1951
Myrtle Charm, 1946
Alluvial
 1969
Buckpasser
 4/28/1963
Tom Fool, 1949Menow, 1935
Gaga, 1942
Busanda, 1947War Admiral, 1934
Businesslike, 1939
Bayou
 1954
Hill Prince, 1947Princequillo, 1940
Hildene, 1938
Bourtai, 1942Stimulus, 1922
Escutcheon, 1927
starts1st2nd3rdearnings
19823200$22,200
198312541$883,390
19846510$2,627,944
Total211251$3,533,534
DateTrackRaceFinishHorsesMisc
10/15/1982 Aqueduct maiden 1 nk (8) Slew o' Gold, Countertrade, Majesty Cove
10/23/1982 Aqueduct allowance 1 (9) Slew o' Gold, Last Turn, Chumming
11/13/1982 Aqueduct Remsen Stakes 6 11¾ (11) Pax In Bello, Chumming, Primitive Pleasure
3/5/1983 Tampa Bay Downs Sam F. Davis Stakes 3 (8) Saverton, Two Turns Home, Slew o' Gold
3/19/1983 Tampa Bay Downs Tampa Bay Derby 2 ¾ (14) Morganmorganmorgan, Slew o' Gold, Quick Dip
4/13/1983 Aqueduct allowance 1 (6) Slew o' Gold, Law Talk, El Cubanaso
4/23/1983 Aqueduct Wood Memorial 1 no (7) Slew o' Gold, Parfaitment, High Honors
5/7/1983 Churchill Downs youtube Kentucky Derby 4 (20) Sunny's Halo, Desert Wine, Caveat
5/29/1983 Belmont Peter Pan Stakes 1 12 (5) Slew o' Gold, I Enclose, Foyt
6/11/1983 Belmont youtube Belmont Stakes 2 (15) Caveat, Slew o' Gold, Barberstown
7/30/1983 Monmouth chart Haskell Invitational 6 4 (10) Deputed Testamony, Bet Big, Parfaitement
8/13/1983 Saratoga Travers Stakes 2 (7) Play Fellow, Slew o' Gold, Hyperborean
9/3/1983 Belmont youtube Woodward Stakes 1 no (10) Slew o' Gold, Bates Motel, Sing Sing
9/24/1983 Belmont youtube Marlboro Cup 2 nk (9) Highland Blade, Slew o' Gold, Bates Motel
10/15/1983 Belmont youtube Jockey Club Gold Cup 1 3 (11) Slew o' Gold, Highland Blade, Bounding Basque
7/2/1984 Belmont allowance 1 (5) Slew o' Gold, Cannon Shell, Northern Ice
8/4/1984 Saratoga youtube Whitney Handicap 1 (3) Slew o' Gold, Track Barron, Thumbsucker
9/15/1984 Belmont youtube Woodward Stakes 1 ½ (6) Slew o' Gold, Shifty Sheik, Bet Big
9/29/1984 Belmont youtube Marlboro Cup 1 (9) Slew o' Gold, Carr De Naskra, Canadian Factor
10/20/1984 Belmont youtube Jockey Club Gold Cup 1 (5) Slew o' Gold, Hail Bold King, Bounding Basque
11/10/1984 Hollywood youtube Breeders' Cup Classic 3 ½ (8) Wild Again, Gate Dancer, Slew o' Gold 2nd by dq

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