Peterson's return to Laurel proves there's life after 'Slew'

July 18, 1992|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

LAUREL -- There is life after Seattle Slew.

Doug Peterson -- who trained the Triple Crown winner after the infamous firing of the horse's former trainer, Billy Turner, in 1977 -- re-surfaced at Laurel Race Course this week.

The 40-year-old horseman is trainer for starter Dolly's Fortune in today's Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash.

Peterson has a string of 17 horses at Hollywood Park. Kent Desormeaux had his choice of two California-based, 3-year-olds to ride in the De Francis race and chose the one trained by Peterson.

"That was encouraging when Kent decided to stick with him," Peterson said.

Dolly's Fortune has won his last three starts at Hollywood Park, but is still considered a long shot. He has yet to win or place in a stakes.

"We thought this colt might be classics material last fall," Peterson said. "But he bled badly in the Santa Catalina (Stakes) in January, and Chris McCarron pulled him up."

After a rest period, Dolly's Fortune returned in sprints.

The De Francis drew a well-balanced, wide-open field with such depth that it could be called a handicapper's nightmare.

"It's a real contentious race and a lot is going to depend on luck, who gets a clean trip and how the race sets up," Peterson said. "That's why I'm confident with Kent. He knows the horse and the race course. I hope he can get my colt to relax and can sit off the pace.

"If I had to pick a horse to beat, it would probably be To Freedom," Peterson said. "He's a class horse, who rarely finishes off the board."

Even though it was Turner who won the Triple Crown with Seattle Slew, it was Peterson who trained the horse for the last half of his 3-year-old year, and until he was retired as a 4 year-old.

He had a long battle with alcoholism. "When I got out of the recovery hospital in 1987, I started working in the racing secretary's office during the day and on the starting gate at night," Peterson said. He eventually returned to training and started building his present stable.

Among the horses he currently trains is Sharp Bandit.

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