Irwin's crowning achievement is Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup hero Animal Kingdom. He brokered a deal to land the sire for a client, imported from Germany and raced in California the dam, planned the mating and named the colt for his racing partnership. Prior to retirement to stud, Animal Kingdom was syndicated for breeding among Darley Stud, Arrowfield Stud and Team Valor International.
Barry Irwin gave up fiction writing in 1969 and left his native California to pursue a career in non-fiction as a staff writer for The Blood-Horse in Kentucky. In the next decade, Irwin spent a year in the bluegrass, went home to write for and later edit the Thoroughbred of California and pen the Southern California column syndicated in Daily Racing Form. He hosted a twice-weekly, two-hour radio program, as well as a weekly, one-hour television show.
During his career as a journalist, while covering racing, sales and horsemen on an international basis, Irwin reached a point where he wanted to be a player and not a writer. He had been able to pick up the fine points of the game from his unique position as an insider and as somebody who was able to ask a lot of meaningful questions of some of the Turf's greatest participants.
Irwin learned his lessons well. His first two runners won for Irwin while he still wrote for Daily Racing Form. Irwin left the Form at the close of the 1978 Del Mar meet to become a bloodstock agent. In the next decade, Irwin bred, raced, syndicated, bought and sold several hundred horses, including It's the One, African Sky, Moscow Ballet and Torsion.
After a decade in bloodstock, Irwin in 1987 zeroed in on the aspect of racing for which he felt most suited--operating a stable of syndicated racehorses. He formed a partnership with longtime friend Jeff Siegel and the rest, as they say, is history.
Irwin is a founding director with the equine-related charity “Race for Education,” which raises money to provide college scholarships to the offspring of backstretch and farm workers. In 2006, Irwin became the organization’s inaugural recipient of the “Valedictorian Award.”
In 2002, Irwin had his story about his favorite racehorse Swaps published by Eclipse Press as part of its biographical series of legendary racehorses.