Harvey Clarke, a prominent owner/breeder who bred the likes of GI Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another (Flower Alley) and co-campaigned MGSWs Cairo Prince (Pioneerof the Nile) and Soldat (War Front), passed away Thursday night at his home in Franklin Lakes, NJ, after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 77.
President of the New York City-based AJ Clarke Real Estate Corp., The Bronx native became involved in Thoroughbred racing at a modest level on the New York and New Jersey circuits in the late 1970s. He increased his family’s involvement in the sport in 2003, and enjoyed particular success in the first half of the 2010s as both an owner and breeder.
Just one year after making it to the Derby with Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Soldat (co-owned by Namcook Stables, Paul Braverman and W. Craig Robertson III), Clarke saw I’ll Have Another, who he sold as a yearling, take the 2012 “Run for the Roses” and GI Preakness S. A year later, the Clarke-bred speedster Havana (Dunkirk) annexed the GI Champagne S. before finishing second in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile; and that same season Cairo Prince, owned originally by the same group as Soldat, took the GII Nashua S. Godolphin purchased a majority interest in the now-promising young sire after he won the GII Holy Bull S. in 2014.
Along with Brookdale Farm, Clarke bred and sold 2014 GI Coaching Club American Oaks and GI Alabama S. and 2015 GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff heroine Stopchargingmaria (Tale of the Cat) out of his and Brookdale founder Fred Seitz’s MSW/GSP Exotic Bloom (Montbrook). They had already sold Exotic Bloom, a $65,000 OBS June purchase, for $500,000 in foal to Quality Road at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton November Sale.
“Harvey has been a friend and client for 42 years and we never exchanged a cross word,” said bloodstock agent Steve Shahinian. “Our friend, Dr. Michael Chovanes, put it best when he told me that, ‘Knowing Harvey Clarke has made me a better person,’ and I think there are many people in this world that feel the same way.”
Clarke is survived by his wife, Donna, and children Scott, Alyssa, Nancy and Jennifer. A funeral service will be held at Robert Schoem’s Menorah Chapel in Paramus, NJ on Monday at 11:00 a.m.