09/11/2004 12:00AM

Champion and sire Deputy Minister dies

Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Deputy Minister, a champion racehorse and leading sire, died Friday at Ohio State University's veterinary hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where he had been undergoing treatment for cancer. The 25-year-old stallion was buried Friday night at Brookdale Farm near Lexington Ky., where he stood this season for a $100,000 fee.

Deputy Minister had shown signs of a sinus infection in recent weeks, but an endoscopic exam revealed that a tumor was obstructing his airway. A biopsy determined that the tumor was malignant.

"We sent him to Ohio State University on Tuesday, and he started radiation treatment on Wednesday," said Ric Waldman, who managed the horse on behalf of Windfields Farm. "He began a second series of radiation treatments on Friday."

The horse died, apparently of heart failure, on Friday.

Centurion Farms in Ontario bred Deputy Minister, a son of Vice Regent from the Bunty's Flight mare Mint Copy. Campaigned by Centurion, Kinghaven, and Due Process Stables, Deputy Minister was a popular and successful racehorse who made a name for himself early.

At age 2 in 1981, he won seven North American stakes, including the Grade 1 Young America and Laurel Futurity, and he set a track record of 57.20 seconds in Woodbine's five-furlong Victoria Stakes. That campaign gave him top honors as champion juvenile in the United States and Canada, as well as Canada's horse of the year.

Deputy Minister made just four starts at 3, winning once. But he came back at 4 to win the Donn Handicap, Tom Fool, and Gulfstream Sprint Championship and to place in the Stuyvesant, Meadowlands Cup, and Vosburgh. He closed out his racing career with 12 victories from 22 starts, with two seconds and two thirds, and earnings of $696,964.

Deputy Minister stood his first five seasons at Windfields Farm in Maryland. But he outperformed his expectations, getting two-time champion fillies Open Mind and Go for Wand from early crops. That quick success gave him a ticket to central Kentucky in 1988, and he has stood at Brookdale ever since arriving in the Bluegrass. He became leading sire twice, in 1997 and 1998. In addition to Open Mind and Go for Wand, Deputy Minister also sired 1993 champion juvenile Dehere, Canadian champions Diva's Debut and Hello Seattle, and foreign champion Mongol Warrior, among numerous other outstanding runners.

Deputy Minister's effect on the breed continues through his sons and daughters. He was among North America's top broodmare sires in 2002 and 2003. At his death, Deputy Minister had more than $2 million in progeny earnings this year and was ranked sixth on the North American broodmare sire list with more than $6.5 million.

"Deputy Minister didn't attract the best female families until he was in his mid to upper teens," Waldman said. "Therefore, the runners out of his daughters that carried him into the top 10 broodmare sire ranks are largely from mares foaled before Deputy Minister achieved upper-level market acceptance.

"From a personal standpoint, he had a broad family, starting with the Windfields personnel who foaled him and broke him in Canada, to the Brookdale personnel, especially his longtime groom Victor Espinoza, who cared for him for the last 15 years of his life," Waldman added.

Deputy Minister covered 71 mares this year.