08/10/2001 12:00AM

A veteran comes to end of racing road

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It wasn't exactly a swan song befitting a champion. But Deputy Inxs, who finished last of seven under allowance terms at Woodbine last Saturday, leaves no regrets as he settles down to a life of retirement.

"I said before the race that if he doesn't run good we'll pull his shoes, and send him home," said trainer Audre Cappuccitti, who also owns the 10-year-old Deputy Inxs in partnership with her husband, Gordon.

"I would have loved to see him retire as a millionaire, but it's nice to see him retire healthy." The Cappuccittis purchased Deputy Inxs for $22,000 as a yearling and have owned the gelding throughout his career, which began with a third-place finish at Woodbine July 2, 1994.

A son of Silver Deputy and Roman Heroine, Deputy Inxs was trained by Glen Buttigieg through that nine-race 3-year-old campaign, in which he registered two wins and eight in-the-money finishes, including a second in the Kenora Stakes.

Gail Cheyne was the trainer of record when Deputy Inxs made five starts at 4, including a win and a second-place finish. But after his first outing of 1996, Cappuccitti took over the training reins and held them through the final 49 starts of the gelding's career.

Deputy Inxs had the reputation of being a consistent but win-shy competitor through his next two campaigns, although he did turn some heads when he notched his first stakes victory at age 6 here in the restricted Steady Growth.

But a remarkable transformation took place in 1998 as Deputy Inxs rattled off six wins, including five stakes, and earned $286,058 while finishing in the top three in all of his 11 starts en route to being voted Canada's champion sprinter.

The roll continued the following season as Deputy Inxs won five times, including four stakes, and was unplaced just once in eight starts while earning $288,655. He not only earned his second consecutive Sovereign as top sprinter but also was honored as Canada's champion older male and was the runner-up to Thornfield in the horse of the year voting.

Although he did enhance his record in his last two campaigns, failing to hit the top three in just three 2000 starts and four outings this season, Deputy Inxs still boasts an admirable career of 17 wins, 11 seconds, 14 thirds, and earnings of $790,560 from 64 appearances.

Cappuccitti, while disappointed with the manner in which her pride and joy's racing days ended, is not about to second-guess herself.

"I think the horse could still win races, but not in this high caliber," Cappuccitti said. "If only I'd have the heart to run him for $50,000, he'd be fine. But if I lost him, I'd die.

"He's such a lovely horse, and he still looks like a million dollars. He's a real dream to be around; he knows he's good."

Cappuccitti always has believed Deputy Inxs was much happier at the racetrack than on the farm.

"He loves to compete," she said. "He's a true athlete. You don't get many like him."

But now she will have to resign herself to visiting the Deputy, whose current residence is Addison-Hall Farms in nearby Aurora, Ontario.

"I really want to get him into a good home, if I give him up to somebody," Cappuccitti said. "I'd never sell the horse, but I'd love to see him doing something, just to be happy. A lot of people have asked for him as a show horse. I'll just have to wait and see; I'm not in any rush."

Queen Sally's DQ appealed

Austin Hinds, owner of Queen Sally, has appealed the filly's disqualification from her first-place finish here in Wednesday's fourth race.

The stewards ruled that Queen Sally, who was ridden by Shane Ellis, had drifted out slightly entering the stretch and forced rider Patrick Husbands, aboard Ok Maybe, to check his mount.

Ok Maybe broke down and fell after steadying and had to be

euthanized.

In Wednesday's stakes feature, Indian Dan nailed front-running Devil Valentine on the wire to capture the $105,600 Vice Regent Stakes for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

Na Somsanith had Indian Dan reserved about five lengths off the early pace along the rail in the one-mile turf race. Devil Valentine helped set fractions of 23.09 seconds and 45.52, and established a length lead at the eighth pole.

Indian Dan was blocked behind a wall of horses early in the stretch, and was angled seven wide at the eighth pole before closing stoutly to prevail by a head. Playing With Fire was another two lengths back in third, while favored Kings Reception ended up fourth in the eight-horse field. The final time was 1:36.83.

Indian Dan ($7.60) banked $63,360 in his first stakes triumph for RMC Stable and trainer John Ross. He was gelded before his penultimate outing, which was an allowance victory in his first attempt on the grass.

* Hammerzaam, a 3-year-old gelding who was beaten by 30 lengths when he ran last in Wednesday's first race, has been been ruled to be "not competitive" and has been placed on the stewards' list. Hammerzaam, who has not finished in front of another horse in four starts, is ineligible to be entered to race in Ontario.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink