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Beyer: Irwin reinvents Team Valor

Barry Irwin sometimes used to make the business of syndicating Thoroughbreds look easy. He and a partner would spot a racehorse with the potential to improve, buy the animal, sell shares to investors. They often won stakes races this way, and almost won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

The game was spoiled when too many people got into it. Sheikhs and tycoons started looking for the same types of horses that Irwin was seeking, and they were driving up the prices. Irwin had to find more creative ways to obtain racing prospects for the syndicates formed by his company, Team Valor International. One example: He bought a 4-year-old filly at an auction in Germany, brought her to the United States, where she flopped as a racehorse, bred her to an unfashionable stallion, syndicated the foal - and won the Kentucky Derby.

That is the story of Animal Kingdom...
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