SI Vault
Douglas S. Looney
May 09, 1977
A horseman never commits suicide," says owner Nathan Perlmutter, "because there's always tomorrow." Yet the dominance of Seattle Slew over this year's 3-year-olds is testing the resolve of horsemen to abide by the conventional wisdom that no matter the adversity, life must go on.
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May 09, 1977

A Gunnysack That's Full Of Quirks

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For The Moment would have liked to have been stranded all week on the turnpike. "The only thing he likes better than a day off," says one observer, "is two days off." Moment's trainer, LeRoy Jolley, says, "Most of my good horses have worked good. I must admit it gave me a calmer feeling."

Jean L. Levesque, a Canadian, owns Giboulee and Fort Prevel, both of whom figured to run in the Derby. But as a result of dismal Blue Grass performances. Fort Prevel will not start and Giboulee has lost some backers. Giboulee's off-track deportment is awful, and his trainer, Jacques Dumas, says, "Mostly he's a big, unruly bully." Like most everyone else, Levesque suspected Slew's dominance, which is why, in March, he offered owner Karen Taylor $1.5 million for half interest in her horse. Turned down, he sniffed, "I'd take it if it were me."

Other promising 3-year-olds have fallen to injury or illness (among them, Royal Ski, who wrenched an ankle; Clev Er Tell, who fractured his knee; Cormorant, who got a fever) while others have dropped out because their talent called in sick. "Without Slew," says Affiliate's trainer, Laz Barrera, "the Derby is all even."

That is enough to make a Nathan Perlmutter hope. "There is little in life," he says, "other than racing, that gives you a statistical chance to get to Nirvana."

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