‘You Do This Because You Love Horses’: Owner-Breeder Harvey Clarke Dies At 77

by | 01.12.2019 | 12:12pm
Harvey A. Clarke

Harvey A. Clarke, breeder of 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another and 2015 Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Stopchargingmaria, died Thursday night at his home in Franklin Lakes, N.J, after a long battle with cancer. He was 77 years old.

Longtime friend and agent Steve Shahinian said of Clarke: “He was beloved in this game by nearly everyone that ever met him, and I was lucky to know him as a great friend and client for the past 42 years.”

Clarke enjoyed success both as a breeder and owner. In addition to I'll Have Another and Stopchargingmaria, he bred Havana, winner of the G1 Champagne Stakes in 2013. As an owner, he campaigned several graded stakes winners alone or in partnership, including G2 Nashua Stakes winner Cairo Prince, a leading first-crop sire of 2018; G2 Fountain of Youth winner Soldat;  and G3 winners Eye of Taurus, Yankee Fourtune and Krypton. All were trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.

Clarke had a long association with Fred Seitz and his family, owners of Brookdale Farm and Brookdale Sales in Versailles, Ky., where he kept his small broodmare band.

I'll Have Another only brought $11,000 when offered at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, but Clarke still delighted in being the breeder of a Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner (I'll Have Another was retired with an injury on the eve of the Belmont Stakes). “Every once in a while, even a blind squirrel finds a nut,” he said to Daily Racing Form at the time.

“Steve (Shahinian) picks out a lot of horses for me,” Clarke said in 2010 as Soldat was preparing for the G2 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, in which he would finish second. “The two of us wander around the sales – he's got a much better eye than I do – and we both loved this horse. I bid much more than I wanted to ($180,000), but we liked his athleticism so much we decided to take a shot.”

“You do this because you love horses,” said he added. “I'm not much of a gambler, but I like to hang around the barn, muck a few stalls or walk a few hots if they'll let me. You dream about being successful and I always tell Kiaran 'We do it for win pictures.'”

Clarke operated A.J. Clarke Real Estate Corp. in Manhattan, New York City. He is survived by wife, Donna, and children Scott, Alyssa, Nancy and Jennifer.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Old Friends, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundationor New Vocations Racehorse Adoption.

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