Deputy Minister, a champion racehorse and sire, died today at Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital. He was 25. The son of Vice Regent was expected to arrive back at Brookdale Farm near Versailles, Ky., Friday night where he was to be buried in the farm's cemetery.
The stallion had a sinus problem for several weeks and during scoping, a mass was detected. The tumor was obstructing Deputy Minister's airway.
"He shipped to Ohio State on Tuesday (Sept. 7) after a biopsy was performed here," Ric Waldman, who managed the horse for Windfields Farm, said. "Everything moved quickly once it was confirmed by two labs. We made a plan to attempt to treat it and implemented that fairly quickly."
Waldman said the mass was determined to be a squamous cell carcinoma.
"He was the best breeding horse I ever saw. He was prepotent," said Brookdale owner Fred Seitz. "He was a member of our farm family -- he was a true blessing to this place."
Deputy Minister was bred by Centurion Farms, which originally raced him. Part interest was later sold to Kinghaven Farm and together, they later sold a majority interest in the horse to Due Process Stable. He was produced from the Bunty's Flight mare Mint Copy.
After he was retired to stand at Windfields Farm in Maryland, the nursery bought four shares and later acquired seven more shares.
Deputy Minister was champion juvenile in both Canada and the U.S in 1981 and was also Canada's Horse of the Year.
He stood his first five seasons at Windfields and moved to Brookdale in the fall of 1988.
Deputy Minister was the leading sire by progeny earnings in both 1997 and 1998. To date, he has sired 81 stakes winners and the earners of about $70 million.
Besides being an Eclipse Award winning juvenile, he has sired three Eclipse Award winning 2-year-olds: Open Mind, Go For Wand, and Dehere. His other top runners includes Breeders Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Awesome Again, Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Touch Gold, Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner Deputy Commander, and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Keeper Hill.
Deputy Minister covered 71 mares this year and 64 have been confirmed in foal.
"I remember vividly when he arrived here at Brookdale," Seitz said. "Windfields was closing down in Maryland. I had bred several mares myself to him up there. When they decided to close down, they did not want to own a farm in Kentucky but they wanted to maintain his management. We had one stallion at the time (Greinton). I was very interested in standing him. Deputy Minister came here along with Imperial Falcon. It was a wonderful relationship.
"He was a very unusual horse," Seitz added. "He had so much character and class. He was a tough, masculine horse. He was a handful, but in a good sense. It was his strength of character that came through."
Seitz said the whole horse would be buried in the farm's cemetery behind the stallion barn. He is the first male horse to be buried in the cemetery, joining the broodmares Sweet Alliance, Ballade, Solar Slew, Brown Berry, and Raise the Standard.
Seitz said Deputy Minister was closest to his longtime groom, Victor Espinoza, who would become the farm's manager and stallion manager.
"He was a great stallion and most importantly his presence will be felt for years to come through his sons and his daughters," Waldman said.
At the time of his death, Deputy Minister's stud fee was $100,000.