Team Valor International forms fractional-interest partnerships with enthusiasts and members of the industry to race Thoroughbreds.

Animal Kingdom Derby winners' circle

Although the stable is best known in America as the owner-breeder of Kentucky Derby hero Animal Kingdom (left), nowadays Team Valor focuses on racing in Europe, while occasionally campaigning a Triple Crown candidate in the United States. Interestingly, Animal Kingdom is best known globally as the winner of the $10-million World Cup in Dubai where he became one of 13 internationally recognized Champions campaigned by the stable.

The stable of partnership-owned racehorses not only is the most successful of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, it is one of the most accomplished racing stables among all types of owners.

Statistics compiled by horses syndicated by the stable have not been approached by any other partnership-owned stable in the history of racing and annually rank Team Valor in the vanguard of all stables in North America and abroad.

In short, Team Valor knows racing. It knows where to get horses, what to do with them and where to run them.

Proof of the high regard in which Team Valor and its methods are held is that Team Valor is the only stable of any kind in North America that is regularly used by analysts in Daily Racing Form and on television as a handicapping factor. Based on the recognition of CEO Barry Irwin’s eye for prospecting talent and the placement of his horses, handicappers in Daily Racing Form have made a habit of referring to Team Valor's "clever" purchases and “well-placed” runners within the confines of their analyses.

The reason Team Valor is the only owner regarded as a handicapping factor by such an authority as Daily Racing Form is that its principal is not an owner of the usual kind, but an astute professional racing manager with a track record second to none and a long history of innovative thinking.

Barry Irwin is at home at the racetrack, both on the frontside and on the backstretch. Irwin has done it all in racing, in the process honing eye and craft to a point where he is recognized by horsemen throughout the world as being able to identify talent and develop it to the fullest extent.

The beneficiaries of Irwin’s fine work are those clients of the stable who have been on board for an astounding journey that has seen many of them standing in the winners' circle with some of the most sought-after prizes in the history of the Turf.

Typical of praise for the stable is this post-race statement from British Racing TV’s commentator after a Group 3 win at Newmarket: “Team Valor—they’re the Moneyballers of horseracing, aren’t they? They use analytics, and they buy horses and sell them cleverly.”

Reasons that Team Valor is successful are as follows:

  • Selection - Team Valor has demonstrated an uncanny ability to identify Grade 1 talent before it becomes apparent to others.
  • Development - Team Valor has shown the ability to fully develop equine talent by matching up individual horses with the trainer best suited to maximizing their potential.
  • Placement - Team Valor knows where to run its horses for maximum return, as evidenced by its strike rate in stakes races throughout the world.

Princess Iris

Since 1987 Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin has raced horses in the partnership format mostly in the United States. During this same time span Team Valor’s distinctive green silks with the red V and cap also have participated internationally in most major venues around the globe.

What began as Clover Racing Stables in Los Angeles, California morphed into Team Valor 5 years later and became Team Valor International 10 years after that when Irwin bought out his original founding partner, nationally known handicapper and media personality Jeff Siegel. Adding "International" signaled a broadening of Irwin’s palette to race more in other countries.

Commencing with the 2020 season, Irwin has innovated again, as Team Valor International now will focus all new racing activities strictly in Europe, with the exception of an occasional Triple Crown prospect in the United States.

In the first 32 years of the racing partnerships, the stable offered its racing partners an avenue to race quality runners at the highest level at the top racing venues. The concentration was on partnership participation, not on profit making.

Going forward, there is a change in direction. Rather than acting as end-users, TVI nowadays is in the enterprise of not only developing equine talent for the pleasure and satisfaction of its clients, but reselling either all or half of its horses when they reach a certain level of accomplishment.

As Barry Irwin says “We are now in the horse business, not just the entertainment business.”

TVI is convinced it is better to be a seller rather than a buyer going forward, as racing worldwide experiences a healthy and inevitable contraction. The reduction in the size of foal crops, a premium will be placed on quality rather than quantity. Furthermore, the populace as a whole has seen an increase in the number of wealthy people with disposable income and these folks naturally gravitate toward racing. They have an appetite for quality stock and need to buy it.

So fewer horses and more wealthy buyers places a greater demand on buying, making selling the more attractive side of the supply and demand equation to be on.

In additional to the commercial reasons, the change to focus on European racing was made because racing abroad is more appealing, as it offers racing that is safer, more beautiful, infinitely more prestigious and significantly more varied, so that the entire European package represents a major upgrade in quality for both horse and human.

There is a reason why equine mortality rates for horses are virtually twice as expensive in the United States than in Europe. It is because racing in much safer abroad.

Barry Irwin has been in the forefront of racing leaders who have fought to rid the sport in America of the use of drugs both legal and illegal. The lack of will and progress among those charged with regulating the sport in the United States has finally driven Team Valor out of America to race in Europe until such time as the sport is cleaned up in the U.S.

European doping controls and enforcement of clean racing is the best in the world, which accounts for the high level of integrity in European racing.

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