-- Seattle Proud, son of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, was euthanized on
Aug. 3, 2018 at Unbridled Spirits Thoroughbred Retirement Ranch, Inc., where he had been retired since 2016.
The 25-year-old winner of over $33,000 in lifetime earnings was experiencing complications from chronic laminitis and
founder. “He was a marvelous animal and a fighter to the end,” said Dr. Charles Abraham of Abraham’s Equine Clinic.
“He always tried to help us help him.”
The flashy dark bay was bred by Mr. Franklin and Mrs. Carolyn T. Groves, who together bred more than 65 stakes
winners. In 1989, Franklin won the Eclipse Award in recognition for outstanding achievement in breeding thoroughbreds. Seattle Proud may have enjoyed more fanfare during his early upbringing than did his legendary father. Out of a dam known for producing stakes winners, Seattle Proud was foaled with high hopes for his breeders and he did not disappoint, selling for $350,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 1994. He didn’t make his first start until the fall of his 3-year-old campaign and steadily improved during his brief, four-race career, notching his first and only win in his final start on New Year’s Day in 1997. After racing exclusively in California, he was retired to stud there and had 57 reported foals.
In 2016, a volunteer at Unbridled Spirits discovered online that Seattle Proud had been saved from being purchased for processing at public auction. “He had been purchased in a parking lot at an auction for $250,” said Christina Norris,
founder and Executive Director of Unbridled Spirits. “He was a 23-year-old stallion and needed a sanctuary-type home to live out the rest of his days.”
Unbridled Spirits proved to be the perfect place for Seattle Proud, and he turned out to be the ideal horse for the farm as well. Seattle Proud arrived at the ranch in October of 2016 and quickly attracted attention not only from locals, but also from thoroughbred enthusiasts throughout the region. Unbridled Spirits is home to over 30 horses and incorporates education and tourism into its business model to carry out its mission to provide a dignified retirement option to thoroughbreds whose racing, breeding and competitive careers have come to an end.
“Seattle Proud brought a lot of publicity to our organization. He had the look of his famous sire and the personality to
match,” said Norris. “Even though we’re located in a town of only 3,000 people, we welcomed people from all over the
United States to meet an actual son of Seattle Slew. They wanted to be able to say they touched a piece of greatness.”
In the aftermath of Seattle Proud’s passing, Unbridled Spirits will be launching its most ambitious fundraising effort to
date: the Seattle Proud Medical Building, a $25,000 venture where students can learn about equine science, reproduction and horsemanship. In addition, resident equines will have a sterile environment to rest while the staff manages their illnesses, injuries and diseases.
“All of us will miss him dearly; he may not have been a stakes winner but he was a champ to us and a privilege to care
for,” said Unbridled Spirits CFO Jen Whittenbaugh. “We are incredibly proud that we were able to garner the publicity he deserved, preserving a piece of his legacy. We’re excited to start raising funds from our donors and the public for the medical building.”
But the proposed medical building isn’t the only legacy that Seattle Proud leaves behind. After an accidental mating with Lolabell, one of the ranch’s retired mares, Seattle Proud helped produce a healthy filly named Seattle’s Surprise, who was foaled on May 1 of this year.
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