Scott Clarke takes such an interest in the racehorses of his father, Harvey, that he is taking a quick weekend off from his studies in England to attend the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs. After all, Soldat, a horse Scott named, is running in the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT).
“He likes the horses, and he’s excited about it,” said Harvey Clarke. “He names a lot of the horses. Soldat is French for soldier. He’s by War Front out of a dam with a French name (Le Relais, by Coronado's Quest).”
Clarke, who is in real estate in New Jersey, owns 95% of Soldat, with W. Craig Robertson III, an attorney in Kentucky, owning 5%. Bloodstock agent Steve Shahinian introduced the two men and advised Clarke on the colt’s purchase at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale.
“He’s by an inexpensive stallion, and I thought I’d buy him for $50,000 or $75,000,” said Shahinian. “We ended up giving $180,000. But he was so nice compared to what else I was looking at that we stretched the budget.”
Kiaran McLaughlin trains for Clarke, and Soldat has run well for the partnership. Second in two dirt starts on off tracks, Soldat won the With Anticipation Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Saratoga over firm turf and finished second to Air Support in the Pilgrim Stakes (gr. IIIT) on yielding turf at Belmont Park.
“He hit the gate coming out (in the Pilgrim),” said Clarke. “Then he and Air Support kind of bumped a little coming down the stretch.”
Added Shahinian, “I think the bottom line is he didn’t care for the soft footing.”
With firm turf expected for the Breeders’ Cup, Soldat should like the going much better in the Juvenile Turf. He is listed at 8-1 on the morning line, behind Master of Hounds, Mantoba, and Utley from Europe and Pluck from the East Coast. Air Support is also listed at 8-1.
Though Soldat is Clarke’s only Breeders’ Cup starter, the owner is having a good year.
“Harvey’s on a giant roll,” said Shahinian. “He’s had seven horses in training, and four of them are graded stakes winners.”
Krypton won the Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT), Yankee Fourtune won the Hawthorne Derby (gr. III), and Eye of Taurus won the Athenia Stakes (gr. IIIT). Scott also had a hand in naming Eye of Taurus.
“She’s by Aldebaran,” said Clarke. “My son figured out that Aldebaran is the star that’s in the eye of the constellation Taurus.”