Edwin Wachtel's Claramount, 1988 New York bred Horse of the Year, died of a ruptured aorta on Feb. 17 at James Edwards' The Stallion Park in Millbrook, where he had stood since entering stud in 1990. He was 19 years old.
Claramount's history as racehorse and sire is an intriguing journey for a New York-bred. Foaled at Tom Martin's Kinderhill Farm in Old Chatham, he traveled from New York to Kentucky as a weanling, then to Florida, Mexico City, northwards to Agua Caliente near the U.S. border, then to Southern California, and finally back to New York, where he became a grade II stakes winner.
He won 14 races while campaigning under five different sets of colors at seven tracks in two countries and on both sides of the North American continent, earning $484,039. As a sire, the son of French Derby winner Policeman out of 1988 New York Broodmare of the Year Fifties Galore, by Cornish Prince, has compiled a generally overlooked record.
As the only North American graded winner by French-bred Policeman, who in his entire career sired only four black-type stakes winners and also had no group winners in Europe, Claramount entered stud in 1990 with a certain degree of understandable prejudice against his sire line.
Despite that drawback, he compiled a sire record that is a statistical marvel, getting better than 78 percent winners from starters with average earnings per runner of more than $62,000 to date. His runners include three-time graded winner Stalwart Member, whose earnings in 2002 climbed to $758,696, plus other stakes winners Broomesse ($396,434), Fickle Fanny ($382,370), Diplomatic Corps ($301,129) and Mount Intrepid ($284,118), named foals, Claramount was represented by progeny earnings of over $1-million in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Offspring of Claramount have earned over $7.4-million to date.