Barry Irwin is the founder of Team Valor International, a racing enterprise known the world over for its successful Thoroughbreds, including the Champion colt Animal Kingdom, winner of the most sought after prize in American racing in the Kentucky Derby and the richest race on the planet in the $10-million Dubai World Cup.
The California native left college without a degree to pursue a career as a fiction writer after a creative writing professor suggested that he “go out and experience life.” When a literary magazine that bought his first few stories folded after its funding dried up on the eve of his first story’s publication, Irwin took it as a sign and moved to Kentucky to learn to write about racing and breeding of horses.
Stints as a writer, editor, columnist, and TV and radio host gave Irwin access to the brightest minds in the game and he made the most of his newfound knowledge. The first two horses he bought promptly won races at Del Mar and Hollywood Park and gave him the courage to leave Daily Racing Form to operate his own bloodstock agency.
Irwin found his true niche in 1987 when he began to form racing partnerships for the public. In his very first year of operation with his very first runner, Irwin won the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. Since then Irwin and his racing stables have won more than 1,000 races, more than 250 of them stakes races.
An outspoken gadfly, Irwin has contributed Op-Eds to several racing trade journals and has been in the forefront of a movement to rid horse racing of drugs. He splits his time between the bluegrass of Kentucky and Palm Beach County, Florida.