Deputed Testamony, the last Maryland-bred horse to win the Preakness, died Tuesday.
The 1983 Preakness champion resided at Bonita Farm in Darlington and was the oldest living winner of a Triple Crown race. He was 32.
"Around here, he was never considered a horse. He was considered a part of our family," Billy Boniface, the manager of the farm, told Patch in a phone interview Tuesday. "He lived a long life."
Boniface, who also serves as president of the Harford County Council, said Deputed Testamony remained in great health and maintained a good quality of life.
"It’s sad, but in a way, we’re trying to keep our chins up and remember the good times with him, too," Boniface said.
Bonita Farm is owned and operated by the Boniface Family and is located off Harmony Church Road in Darlington.
Deputed Testamony was born on Boniface's 16th birthday, and his birth was particularly memorable—Boniface had just received his license and it was the first time he was able to drive his new Jeep to a horse's birth.
"I have delivered hundreds of babies, but I’ll always remember that one," Boniface said. "He always had a special part in my heart."
Deputed Testamony was retired from breeding about 10 years ago. He was buried Tuesday next to his mother and father—Proof Requested and Traffic Cop—on the farm.
"He came from very modest parents," Boniface said. "They weren’t very well bred, but the horse, he had this huge heart and he really, what he did for a lot of people, he proved that you don’t need to be one of the sheikhs or somebody with all the money in the world. If you get the right combination of parents with a lot of heart, you can do anything in this sport."
Boniface said the horse was an underdog to Slew o' Gold, which had won the Kentucky Derby heading into the 1983 Preakness.
"He was a little horse, too," Boniface said. "He’d get into the gate, next to Slew of Gold, who was the heavy favorite heading into Preakness, and he looked like a midget next to him. But he went right around all those big boys. He had a big heart."
Deputed Testamony's death added to an already difficult year for the family. Boniface's son died in an accident on the family farm in June.
"I know my son is taking care of him. I know that’s for sure," Boniface said.