06/16/2003 12:00AM

Iron Deputy rises in ranks

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ELMONT, N.Y. - After months of trouble, the reward was sweet.

Iron Deputy, making only his third start of the year, took complete charge of a strong field and scored a decisive victory by 2 1/2 lengths in Saturday's $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap. A torrential rain in mid-afternoon turned the track into a lake and may have helped Iron Deputy, who has tactical speed. His performance was outstanding, however, giving the impression that he has turned an important corner with a foot problem and is ready to go on with his career as a prominent figure in the handicap ranks.

A 4-year-old colt by Silver Deputy out of Femme De Fer, by Iron Duke, Iron Deputy was a $45,000 yearling purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sales of 2000 by John and Susan Moore of Far Hills, N.J. From the outset he showed talent, was a stakes winner at 2, and has never run a poor race. He won a stakes to get his 3-year-old season off smartly last year, but then encountered bone-development problems that sent him to the sidelines for six months.

On his return, at Saratoga, he clipped heels in the Jim Dandy, tossing jockey Richard Migliore and triggering an abscess that developed into a quarter crack. A number of conventional patches failed to solve the problem, and Iron Deputy was finally turned out at a farm in New Jersey until the injured foot grew back. He was sharp in a recent prep race, winning by more than 11 lengths and setting the stage for his tour de force in the Brooklyn against such good ones as Volponi, Harlan's Holiday, Evening Attire, and Saarland.

Susan Moore was the keen racing fan in the family and maintained a small stable while building a successful career as a catalog publisher. Five years ago, she was joined in the operation of the stable by her husband, John, an investment banker. The Moores now have some 20 horses in training in New York with Jimmy Jerkens. They have developed a team to make their purchases and appear to be headed in the right direction.

"Susan heads the team," John Moore says. "She has the experience and the judgment. I lend some assistance in management and administration. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens, a top young horseman, is on the team, along with Dr. Patty Hogan, a veterinarian and surgeon and an expert in X-ray analysis.

"Cecil Seaman, well known for his measurement of horses, gives us his expertise and often acts as agent. Another team member is Eddie Coletti, who has the young horses on the farm in Florida. We look for horses with athletic ability and some pedigree."

Iron Deputy has earned more than $300,000. At the same sale where he was purchased for $45,000, the Moore team also bought a colt by Regal Classic out of Northern Sanction, by Affirmed, for $165,000. Named Regal Sanction, he won the Pegasus Handicap at the Meadowlands last fall and has earnings of almost $400,000.

Iron Deputy came out of the Brooklyn Handicap in good order, and his people are now studying their options. One possibility is the $500,000 Suburban Handicap, the traditional Independence Day feature in New York. Iron Deputy's connections would prefer another week or two between starts, but their horse is good now.

Volponi also ran well in the Brooklyn, and trainer Phil Johnson intends to bring him back in the Suburban. If the track is fast, this could be a memorable renewal.