Deputy Minister (horse)

Deputy Minister (May 17, 1979 – September 10, 2004) was a Canadian-bred Thoroughbred horse racing Champion. At age two, he won eight out of his nine starts and was voted both the Sovereign and Eclipse Awards for Champion 2-Year-Old in Canada and the United States respectively. He also received Canada's Sovereign Award for Horse of the Year. Although his three-year-old campaign was restricted by injury, Deputy Minister rebounded at age four with several major wins.

Deputy Minister
SireVice Regent
GrandsireNorthern Dancer
DamMint Copy
DamsireBunty's Flight
ColourDark Bay
BreederCenturion Farm
OwnerCenturion Stables
Kinghaven Farms
Due Process Stable
TrainerBill Marko (1981)
John J. Tammaro Jr. (1981-2)
Reynaldo H. Nobles (1983)
Record22: 12-2-2
Major wins
Colin Stakes (1981)
Clarendon Stakes (1981)
Youthful Stakes (1981)
Laurel Futurity (1981)
Young America Stakes (1981)
Tom Fool Handicap (1983)
Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship (1983)
Donn Handicap (1983)
American Champion Two-Year-Old Male Horse (1981)
Canadian Champion 2-Yr-Old Colt (1981)
Canadian Horse of the Year (1981)
Leading sire in North America (1997, 1998)
Leading broodmare sire in North America (2007)
Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame (1988)
Deputy Minister Handicap at Gulfstream Park
Deputy Minister Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack

Retired to stud in 1984, Deputy Minister became an outstanding sire, leading the North American sire list in 1997 and 1998. His most famous offspring were Hall of Fame fillies Go For Wand and Open Mind, Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold and Breeders' Cup Classic winner Awesome Again. Deputy Minister was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1988.


Deputy Minister was a dark bay horse with a small white star on his forehead. He was bred in Ontario by Centurion Farms,[1] owned by Mort and Marjoh Levy. He was sired by Vice Regent, a full brother to Canadian Champion Viceregal. Although Viceregal was the better racehorse, Vice Regent proved to be the better sire, leading the Canadian sire list 13 times. Both horses were by leading sire Northern Dancer and out of the talented racemare Victoria Regina, who was closely related to several Canadian champions including Victoria Park and Canadiana.[2] Deputy Minister's dam Mint Copy was claimed by the Levys for only $6,250[3] and went on to become a stakes-placed racehorse. She also came from a distinguished female family.[4]

Deputy Minister originally raced for the Levys, who sold a half interest to Kinghaven Farms during the colt's two-year-old campaign. Due Process Stables purchased a half interest in the colt in January 1982 for a reported $6 million, then became the horse's sole owner during 1983. Deputy Minister was trained by Bill Marko for his first six races as a two-year-old before he was moved to the barn of John J. Tammaro Jr. In 1983, Reynaldo Nobles became his new trainer.[4]

Deputy Minister stood 16.2 12 hands (66.5 inches, 169 cm) high. He had an excellent shoulder and good hips but according to Tammaro was "unsound in the feet and ankles at all times." Fred Seitz, the owner of Brookdale Farm where he stood as a stallion, said, "He was a tough, masculine horse. He was a handful, but in a good sense."[4]

Racing careerEdit

1981: Two-year-old campaignEdit

At age two, Deputy Minister won eight of nine starts, including two Grade I wins in the United States. His only loss that year came in the Champagne Stakes where he finished fourth.[1]

He won his first start in a maiden special weight race at Woodbine Racetrack on May 10, 1981. He then won his next five races, all stakes races:[1][4]

  • the Victoria Stakes on May 18 at Woodbine over a distance of 5 furlongs, setting a new track record of :5715
  • the Youthful Stakes on June 8 at Belmont Park over 5+12 furlongs
  • the Clarendon Stakes on June 21 at Woodbine over 5+12 furlongs
  • the Colin Stakes on July 11 at Woodbine over 6 furlongs
  • the Bull Page Stakes on August 2 at Woodbine over 6 furlongs

A part interest in Deputy Minister was sold to Kinghaven Stables, for whom Tammaro was the private trainer. Marko was supposed to remain in charge of the colt with Tammaro acting as the overseer, but Marko reportedly resented the situation. After Marko did not get the necessary visas for the horse to race in the Hopeful Stakes in the United States in August, Deputy Minister was formally moved to the Tammaro's stable. Tammaro planned to enter him in the Arlington-Washington Futurity[5] but the colt came down with a virus,[3] causing a short layoff. He returned to racing on October 10 in the Grade I Champagne Stakes, finishing fourth. He quickly rebounded with two Grade I stakes wins:[1][4]

Deputy Minister was named the Canadian Horse of the Year and also received Sovereign and Eclipse Awards as the Champion Two-Year Colt in Canada and the United States respectively.[1] On the Experimental Free Handicap, he was the co-highweight with Timely Writer at 126 pounds, the first Canadian-bred horse to achieve this honor.[4]

1982: Three-year-old campaignEdit

Deputy Minister started 1982 as one of the early favorites for the Kentucky Derby. He made his first start of the year on January 27 in the Bahamas Stakes at Hialeah Park as the even money favorite, but finished a well beaten fifth behind the lightly regarded Aloma's Ruler,[6] who later went on to win the Preakness Stakes. After the race, Deputy Minister was diagnosed with a severely bruised and wrenched right front ankle.[7] Trying to stay on target for the Derby, Deputy Minister returned to racing on February 24 in a $25,000 prep race for the Flamingo Stakes but finished ninth. His jockey Don MacBeth said the colt felt sound,[8] but Tammaro subsequently withdrew him from the Flamingo.[9] Deputy Minister would not return to racing until October 28 when he won an allowance race at Woodbine. He finished the year with a seventh place finish in the Sports Page Handicap at Aqueduct on November 21.[1]

1983: Four-year-old campaignEdit

In 1983 and now trained by Nobles, Deputy Minister won three straight races:[1][4]

"You wouldn't believe what this horse's foot looked like in February," said Nobles after the Tom Fool. "He only had half a foot. He'd gotten it all infected with a piece of gravel, and we had to cut half his foot out. But it grew back, and he's all recovered from all his physical problems right now. He's the best he's ever been."[10]

The Tom Fool proved to be Deputy Minister's last win. In his last six starts, Deputy Minister finished second twice (in the Meadowlands Cup and the Stuyvesant Handicap), third twice (in an allowance race and the Vosburgh Stakes) and was unplaced twice.[1] In his final start in the Meadowlands Cup, he broke slowly and encountered traffic problem was still beaten by just a neck. Sportswriter Steven Crist called him "game and gallant in defeat."[11]


Deputy Minister was retired to stand at stud at the Maryland branch of Windfields Farm, where he sired future U.S. Hall of Famer Go for Wand. In 1989, Windfields closed down its Maryland branch after the retirement of Northern Dancer. As a result, Deputy Minister was moved to Fred Seitz's Brookdale Farm in Versailles, Kentucky, where he spent the rest of his life.[12] A career sire of 90 Graded stakes race winners, Deputy Minister was the leading sire in North America in 1997 and 1998. Several sons went on to become successful stallions while his daughters also became successful producers, causing Deputy Minister to be the leading broodmare sire of 2007. His stud fee reached $150,000 for the years 1999 to 2002.[13]

In 1988, he was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.[3]

Deputy Minister died of a malignant tumor at the Ohio State University veterinary hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and was buried at Brookdale Farm.[12]

Selected progenyEdit

Deputy Minister was the sire of 90 stakes winners, 17 of whom were Grade I winners,[13] including:

Several of Deputy Minister's sons went on to become successful sires themselves. Deputy Minister is the grandsire of such notable horses as:

Deputy Minister was also an outstanding broodmare sire, leading the North American list in 2007 thanks mainly to Horse of the Year Curlin. One of his daughters, Better Than Honour, became Kentucky Broodmare of the Year after siring back-to-back winners of the Belmont Stakes, Jazil and Rags To Riches. Deputy Minister is the damsire of many notable horses including:[14]


Pedigree of Deputy Minister
Vice Regent
Northern Dancer Nearctic Nearco
Lady Angela
Natalma Native Dancer
Victoria Regina Menetrier Fair Copy
La Melodie
Victoriana Windfields
Mint Copy
Bunty's Flight Bunty Lawless Ladder
Broomflight Deil
Air Post
Shakney Jabneh Bimelech
Grass Shack Polynesian
Good Example


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Deputy Minister Profile". Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  2. ^ Avalyn Hunter. "Vice Regent (horse)". American Classic Pedigrees. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Deputy Minister | Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame". Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Avalyn Hunter. "Deputy Minister". American Classic Pedigrees. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  5. ^ Crist, Steven (5 November 1981). "BIG TEST FOR DEPUTY MINISTER". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  6. ^ Beyer, Andrew (28 January 1982). "'Ruler' Wins Bahamas". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  7. ^ "Deputy Minister's Ankle Bruised and Wrenched". The New York Times. 30 January 1982. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  8. ^ Crist, Steven (25 February 1982). "Top 3 Derby Prospects Beaten". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Deputy Minister to Miss Flamingo on Saturday". The New York Times. 3 March 1982. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  10. ^ Crist, Steven (18 July 1983). "Deputy Minister Easily Wins Tom Fool". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  11. ^ Crist, Steven (18 November 1983). "MEADOWLANDS CUP TO SLEWPY". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Leading Sire Deputy Minister Dies at Age 25". Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  13. ^ a b Tapp, Ian. "Deputy Minister: Champion Racehorse and Sire". Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  14. ^ Peters, Anne. "Inbreeding to Deputy Minister" (PDF). (reprint from BloodHorse magazine). Retrieved 28 January 2017.