Unionville-Raised Trainer of a Triple Crown Winner Dies at 81

Billy Turner.

Billy Turner, who grew up in Unionville and trained Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, has died at 81, writes Richard Sandomir for The New York Times.

Turner started training Slew in 1976 when the colt was two years old. Soon, he knew he was dealing with a special horse.

“Even before his first start, Billy told me, ‘You know, this horse has such unusual abilities, the main thing is that he stays sound,’” recalled Jim Hill, who owned Slew with his wife, Sally, and Mickey and Karen Taylor.

That same year, Slew won his first three races.

“If he doesn’t win the Triple Crown, I haven’t done my job,” Turner told reporters at the time.

The following year, Slew won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes and became only the 10th thoroughbred in history to win the Triple Crown.

After his association with Slew ended in July 1977, Turner went on to train many other successful horses. Overall, the horses he trained earned $17.5 million.

Read more about Billy Turner in The New York Times.