Sometimes, while training the horse, Turner wondered who was teaching whom.
"When you looked into his eyes, you got the feeling that he knew more than you did," he said. "I remember [jockey] Angel Cordero saying how, in the Derby, he had For The Moment ahead, on the back side, with Seattle Slew just off the lead. Cordero said that when he glanced back, what he saw gave him pause.
"'Slew wasn't looking at my horse,'" Cordero said. "'He was looking at me.'"
Turner put Seattle Slew's look into words.
"He was saying, 'Don't mess with me or I'll make trouble for you,'" Turner said. "And nobody ever messed with him. His determination was almost scary."
Seattle Slew died in 2002, at age 28, on the 25th anniversary of his Derby victory. His progeny won more than 100 stakes races. He stood at stud at Three Chimneys Farm in Lexington, Ky., where his old trainer visited him several years before his death.
"I hadn't seen Slew in 12 years," Turner said. "He was standing in the back of his stall, but when he heard my voice, he gave a low nicker and walked to the front. The farm's owner, Robert Clay, was dumbfounded. He said the horse had never shown that kind of interest in anyone."
As Turner watched, a groom led Seattle Slew to the breeding shed and past the stall of Spectacular Bid, another Hall of Fame horse who'd won both the 1979 Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
As he passed Spectacular Bid's stall, Turner said, Seattle Slew hesitated and stared at him. Bid's response?
"He went to the back of his stall and just stood there," Turner said. "It's like Slew had said, 'I'm still boss hoss.' "