But, when Sensitive Prince was scratched on Saturday morning because of an inflamed jaw, the real speed left in the race belonged to Seattle Slew. And Slew did not have to worry about the late-closing Alydar, who went out of the race early in the week with a foot injury.
In the paddock a half hour before the start, Phil Johnson, the trainer of Nasty And Bold, said, "With Sensitive Prince out, it has to help Slew. Most of the races today have been won by horses that have gotten on the lead early. If Slew can get away he'll be tough. When he's out in front he's hard to run down."
Affirmed had worked to the race perfectly, but once it started he was no match for Slew. The 3-year-old got away in perfect order, but fell back, and Steve Cauthen could not get him any closer. "Affirmed ran a good race," Cauthen said, "but he just couldn't cut into Slew's lead. I thought at the top of the stretch that I might get to him, but Cordero just let him out a little bit and we couldn't pick up ground. They are two great horses, and today Slew was better. I don't know if it would be the same if they ran again or not."
When Slew was brought back to the winner's enclosure, his flashing eyes reflecting his competitiveness, Cordero kept holding up an index finger to the crowd to show that Slew was No. 1.
"I knew when we were able to go to the lead that we could win it," Cordero said. "Slew is such a nice horse and I was able to relax him on the backstretch. There isn't a horse in the world that could have beaten him today."