Harvey Clarke

Harvey Clarke

Courtesy of Harvey Clarke

TOBA December Member of the Month

Harvey Clarke is the TOBA December Member of the Month.

Harvey Clarke has made an indelible mark on racing during the past two years. Best known as the breeder of I'll Have Another , who won the 2012 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I), Clarke has continued his streak in 2013 with a number of brilliant juveniles now aiming for the next classics.

Clarke first entered the racing business in 1979. The Bronx native had a few fillies with running ability, so he kept them as broodmares. Success came slowly, with his first graded stakes winner not appearing until 2009. Since then, however, Clarke has held the hot hand with six stakes winners as an owner and three graded stakes winners as breeder. His success is even more remarkable given the size of his broodmare band, which numbers only 10 horses. Today Clarke jokes, his day job in real estate is "what I do in order to have enough money to lose it in the horse business."

One outstanding 2-year-old of 2013 is Cairo Prince , whom Clarke co-owns with Paul Braverman, Craig Robertson III, and Namcook Stables. The Pioneerof the Nile colt won the Nashua Stakes (gr. II) by two-and-a-half lengths and finished a close second to Honor Code in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) a mere month later. Clarke's longtime friend and bloodstock adviser Steve Shahinian pointed him towards Cairo Prince at the 2012 Keeneland September sale. "He was a great mover. He was a beautiful-looking horse," Clarke recalled. Clarke knew the colt, bred by Katherine and Richard Elam, would cost more than he wanted to spend going it alone, so he partnered with friends to purchase the $250,000 colt, out of Holy Bubbette (by Holy Bull).

Cairo Prince has become a leading contender for the 2014 Run for the Roses under the watchful eye of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who Clarke said recognized the horse's ability early.

"Kiaran's a wonderful guy. He's trained for me for over 10 years and we've had some really nice horses with him, so he gets lot of credit for that." Added Clarke modestly, "I think we got a good one here."

Clarke naturally hopes Cairo Prince will be in the Derby starting gate on the first Saturday in May but also recognizes the hurdles that lie ahead through the spring. Cairo Prince, who is wintering at PalmMeadowsTrainingCenter in South Florida, will face the first of those hurdles Jan. 25 in grade II Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. After that, Clarke said, all they can do is take it day-by-day.

Cairo Prince wasn't Clarke's only top juvenile colt of 2013. He also bred Havana (Dunkirk-Missy Turtle, by Kyle's Our Man), who captured the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) and finished second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). When planning Missy Turtle's mating, Clarke and his bloodstock team chose grade I-placed Dunkirk as the mare's mate, because the stallion's scopey frame balanced out the mare's chunky build. Havana is now owned by the Coolmore team of Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith. Agent Demi O'Byrne bought the horse for $575,000 at the Barretts March select 2-year-olds in training sale.

Another top 2-year-old of 2013 bred by Clarke is the brilliant juvenile filly Stopchargingmaria, who races for Repole Stables. Stopchargingmaria (Tale of the Cat-Exotic Bloom, by Montbrook) has already won two graded stakes-the grade II Demoiselle and grade III Tempted, the latter on the same day as Cairo Prince's Nashua win. She also has placed in two grade I contests and earned $548,000 for the year. "She's a wonderful horse and I wish him (Repole) well. It's like watching one of your kids do well," Clarke said.

Fred Seitz of Brookdale Farm, who has planned many matings with Clarke, arranged the match that produced Stopchargingmaria. "We were looking for a proven stallion who could give us the kind of a baby who would be a nice kind of a baby, and something that might also be interesting, as far as a sale horse is concerned," said Clarke.

Seitz also recommended the cross that produced I'll Have Another, Clarke's first grade I winner as an owner or breeder. The son of Flower Alley won the Santa Anita Derby before taking the Derby and Preakness under Mario Gutierrez. Injury kept him out of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), but he had done enough to be named champion 3-year-old colt for the year. "(I'll Have Another) was kind of a little weedy yearling. There wasn't much to him," Clarke remembered. Though Clarke sold I'll Have Another, he still owns the horse's dam, the Arch mare Arch's Gal Edith. The mare lost her last two foals and is currently in foal to Medaglia d'Oro.

Luck in breeding and racing is in the draw, according to Clarke. "If you love what you're doing, then you stay in it. I didn't make any money in it (for many years), that's for sure," he said. Over the years, his passion for horses hasn't dimmed. Clarke described his feelings for racing as an incurable virus, observing, "Those of us who have it...there's no cure for it. We just love it." And, if 2013 was any judge, 2014 might just make him love it even more.

Congratulations to Harvey, TOBA’s December member of the month!