08/30/2007 11:00PM

Deputy Minister's legacy continues to grow


LEXINGTON, Ky. - One of 58 foals from the next-to-last crop by Deputy Minister, Miss Shop may be the last Grade 1 winner by her top-class sire. The 4-year-old filly twice placed in Grade 1 stakes last year and graduated to become a Grade 1 winner in the Personal Ensign Stakes on Aug. 24 at Saratoga.

Bred by the Hobeau Farm of Jack Dreyfus, Miss Shop is one of three stakes winners out of the Private Account mare Shopping.

Shopping is out of the Majestic Prince mare Impish and is a half-sister to graded stakes winner Lay Down (by Spectacular Bid) and stakes winner Karley's Harley (Harlan), as well as to the dam of Vosburgh Stakes winner Mining. This is the Lady Be Good family developed by the Phipps family, and Miss Shop became a Grade 1 winner with a victory in the race named for Ogden Phipps's great unbeaten champion.

With her outstanding qualifications of pedigree and proven production, Shopping was a natural candidate to mate with a premium sire such as Deputy Minister, a leading sire, sire of successful stallions, and a great broodmare sire.

He created those credentials through years of consistent, high-quality performance as a sire of elite racehorses, but such success was not a foregone conclusion.

The champion 2-year-old colt of 1981, Deputy Minister was well-respected when he went to stud at Windfields Farm in Maryland in 1984, but not long after Deputy Minister retired to stud, Windfields began making changes to its operation.

"We decided to close down the Windfields farm in Maryland, and we moved the stallions to Lexington that we thought would be competitive and would fit the market in Kentucky," said Ric Waldman, then the vice president of Thoroughbred operations for Windfields. "Those were all three in different price ranges: The Minstrel, Deputy Minister, and Imperial Falcon."

Deputy Minister and Imperial Falcon stood at the Brookdale Farm of Fred Seitz, and The Minstrel stood at Overbrook Farm, where Waldman also served as an adviser.

"Deputy Minister came from Windfields, where he stood for $25,000, and went from strength to strength," Seitz said. "He was a wonderful addition to our operation."

Indeed, Deputy Minister proved to be such a great sire that he was a benefit to everyone associated with him. Waldman, for instance, "was breeding a few mares of my own at that time and was sending several mares up to Windfields. So it was easy for me to promote and market Deputy Minister when I believed so much in him myself."

As with any horse or endeavor, promotion will take it only so far. Then there have to be results.

"Deputy Minister just took off," Waldman said. "It was a great feeling of accomplishment to see him become a leading sire for two consecutive years and sire champions."

Deputy Minister had five stakes winners in his first crop of 34 named foals for a strike rate of 15 percent stakes winners.

From Deputy Minister's second crop came champion Open Mind, winner of the 1988 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and other top races. From the stallion's third crop came champion Go for Wand, who was successful in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies of 1989.

And almost before anyone could say "filly sire," Deputy Minister answered with Dehere, the champion 2-year-old colt of 1993, and Awesome Again, winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic in 1998.

Both of them have become important sires, and even before they began to make their marks, another son had shown that Deputy Minister was breeding on. Silver Deputy, an unbeaten juvenile from Deputy Minister's first crop, had an electrifying debut as a young sire and not long thereafter moved from Canada to stand alongside his sire at Brookdale Farm in Kentucky.

"Initially, Silver Deputy wasn't fancy enough to stand in Kentucky, but he busted out of the gate with his first crop and soon after we sold a half-interest in him to Foxfield and moved him to Brookdale," Waldman said.

Rob Whiteley was the director of operations for Foxfield and was crucial in positioning the breeding operation in prominent young stallions such as Deputy Minister and his son Silver Deputy.

"One of the best moves that I ever made for Foxfield was to acquire 20 percent of Deputy Minister," Whiteley said. "At the time, he was a rising star, and I could appreciate not only his quality but also could see how he would fit with a number of our better mares. And I was thrilled with the results."

With Whiteley's guidance, Foxfield purchased mares suited to their stallion acquisitions, and one of the most historically significant of these purchases was Kentucky Oaks winner Blush With Pride, a beautiful mare by Blushing Groom out of Broodmare of the Year Best in Show.

"When I purchased Blush With Pride, I specifically did so with the intention of breeding her to Deputy Minister," Whiteley said. "I felt they complemented each other beautifully, both physically and in terms of pedigree. And the resulting filly, later named Better Than Honour, was truly wonderful."

Better Than Honour became a graded stakes winner on the track and, following her retirement to stud, has become one of the most important classic producers in American turf history. She is the dam of the last two winners of the Belmont Stakes, Jazil (Seeking the Gold) and Rags to Riches (A.P. Indy).

Daughters such as this have made Deputy Minister one of the most respected broodmare sires in America, and he is also broodmare sire of this year's Preakness winner, Curlin.