Former Owners, Trainer Rescue Grade 1 Winner The Deputy


The owners and trainer of The Deputy during his racing career reported March 24 that they recently stepped in to rescue the 2000 Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner from a “kill pen.”

Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin and Gary Barber—the ownership team that campaigned The Deputy to racing’s heights—and trainer Jenine Sahadi purchased the 24-year-old from a feedlot about an hour north of Dallas. According to a release from Team Valor, the retired stallion is now safely housed at Remember Me Rescue, a Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance-accredited operation near Burleson, Texas.

Irwin credited the “Internet monitoring skills” of horse lovers for uncovering that The Deputy had been bought cheaply at a sale in Iowa and then transported to a feedlot in Texas. Irwin said word spread fast and he was able to purchase The Deputy on behalf of Team Valor, Barber, and Sahadi. 

Irwin thanked Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and Donna Keen, of Remember Me Rescue, for playing key roles in quickly securing The Deputy and moving him to the sanctuary.

“We decided to have Donna quarantine The Deputy for a while, do some diagnostic work, including blood (tests) and a fecal (test), and not reveal anything about the rescue until we were certain that he was healthy, as Donna warned us that horses from feedlots can contract diseases quite readily,” Irwin said Wednesday in a release. “When the tests all came back negative today and the vet check proved unremarkable, we decided it was time to tell the story; not to portray ourselves as heroes, but to put an end to the salacious, untrue, and unfounded tales that had been circulating online. We want to thank those horse lovers who helped us in our endeavors.” 

Keen said The Deputy is underweight but they’re looking forward to seeing him return to full health.

“We are thrilled to have been able to help the original connections and to be able to take care of the horse and share him with visitors to our rescue,” Keen said. “He is, as could be expected, a bit underweight at this time, but when he fills back up and once again looks the part, we look forward to showing him off here in Texas. We are very honored and proud to have been selected as his forever home.” 

The Deputy, bought by Team Valor and Barber after he won a maiden race in England at 2, enjoyed a brief but meteoric rise to stardom in the winter of his 3-year-old season at Santa Anita Park, where the colt rattled off victories in the Hill Rise Handicap, Santa Catalina Stakes (G2), and the Santa Anita Derby, while running second in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) to eventual Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Fusaichi Pegasus.

In his off-the-board Derby finish, The Deputy bowed a tendon and was retired.

“I have always had a soft spot in my heart for The Deputy. He was my first grade 1 winner,” Barber said in the release.

Trainer Sahadi, the only female trainer to saddle a Santa Anita Derby winner, added, “He was the easiest horse to be around. All class. He meant a lot to me and my barn.” 

The son of Petardia originally was syndicated to stand at Margaux Farm near Midway, Ky., after which he did stints at farms in Michigan and Iowa.

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