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North American Trainer ISSUE 31 (SPRING 2014)

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PROFILE The Hartys: Edward, Carolyn, Eoin and Eddie Sr

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EDWARD AND EOIN HARTY

RELATIVE VALUES:

Edward and Eoin Harty

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PROFILE

When he was 17 years old and in the breeding program at Irish National Stud in County Kildare, Eoin (pronounced “Owen”) Harty, a fifth-generation horseman, couldn’t wait for the arrival of racing magazines from America. “We used to get them every week at Irish National,” Harty said. “I saw pictures of Claiborne and Gainesway in the Blood-Horse and Thoroughbred Record. I said, ‘I’m never going to be able to compete with them.’”

D

WORDS: BILL HELLER PHOTOS: CAROLINE NORRIS, HORSEPHOTOS.COM

R. Michael Osborne, the director of the program, convinced him to try. “He said, ‘It’s a land of opportunity, even if you have to work at McDonald’s,’” Harty said. “’Go over there and test the waters. The opportunities are vast in the States. These do not exist in Ireland. Seize the moment.’” Smart man, that Dr. Osborne. Harty, now 51, has not only competed with the best in the United States, but he has succeeded there and in Dubai, where he won the world’s richest race, the $6 million Dubai World Cup, by 14 lengths with Well Armed, who also won the Grade I Goodwood and the Grade 2 San Antonio and San Diego Handicaps. Harty has also won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby and Travers with Colonel John and the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies with Tempera. As 2013 wound down, he’d won 343 races from 2,140 starts with earnings of nearly $21 million in just 13 years. “That’s the job he was expected to do,” his father, Eddie, said in a phone interview from

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Newbridge, Ireland. “I’m delighted that fortune has smiled on him, but he does his job very well. I am pleased and proud, but not surprised.” As a rider, Eddie, now in his late ’70s, competed in the 1960 Olympics in Rome for Ireland, and he won England’s prestigious Grand National Steeplechase in 1969 on Highland Wedding. “He paralyzed his arm in a racing accident,” Eoin said. “He’s got partial use of it now. To him, the glass is always half-full. He went on to something else. That’s when he started training.” The Harty family, which had been living in England for ten years, moved back to Ireland. “I was born in Dublin, but I spent my first ten years in England,” Eoin said. “At ten years of age, I must say I thoroughly enjoyed my time in England.” But in Ireland, there was a family legacy, one he and his older brother Edward, also now a trainer, are continuing. “Every waking moment of your life over there, it’s all people talk about: horses,” Eoin said. “Friends, family. It’s hard to describe because there’s nothing like it in America. Where my parents live, it’s a horse

area. Everybody is doing horses, talking about horses. If you didn’t like horses, it wouldn’t be good.” The Harty family has loved horses for five generations. When asked about the impact of having such deep roots, Eddie said, “I think the way I can explain it is I had four uncles who were professional jockeys. My dad was a champion amateur rider. My grandfather was the first trainer licensed outside of the Curragh. When I won the National, he was battling cancer and couldn’t attend. I called him from the hotel to tell him I won, and he said, ‘It was a great day. It would have been better if Boss was there.’” Michael “Boss” Harty – Eddie’s grandfather – followed his brothers, Edmund and John, into Irish racing in 1980, training and riding. Boss expanded his stable throughout Ireland and into England and Wales and died before Eddie was born. Five of Boss’s sons continued the Harty legacy: Henry was a successful jump rider and trainer; Michael rode in Ireland and India; George rode and trained, and John was killed while riding in a race at The Curragh in 1929. The fifth son, Eddie’s dad, Cyril, was a member of the Irish Army showjumping team and trained Knight’s Crest, who won the 1944 Irish Grand National. Eddie and his brothers, Buster and John, all rode and trained. John was an accomplished rider, catching many of Ireland’s most important stakes. Buster’s daughter, Sabrina, won her first race as a trainer in 2006 at Roscommon. Her cousin Delma was the first woman trainer to win at the Cheltenham Festival and also the first woman steward in Ireland. “We have tremendous respect for the horse game, the integrity and everything about it,” Eddie said. It’s a big advantage and it’s a great responsibility.” Eddie has successfully borne that responsibility. “He’s the best,” his wife Patricia, a native of New York, said in a phone interview. “It’s something he’s always done. He knows the job from start to end. It’s gone back for generations. It’s something that’s in the blood. It’s still there.” Two of Eddie and Patricia’s three children


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EDWARD AND EOIN HARTY

continue their family’s racing legacy: Edward, who also goes by the name “Eddie,” and Eoin. Edward went to college and became a successful currency trader before returning to a business and a life with horses as a trainer in 2004. “He was the smart one,” Eoin said. “He was always passionate about training. He was probably more passionate about horses than I was.” Edward understands the history behind his own love of horses. “The family’s been training continuously,” he said. “There hasn’t been a break. That’s all we really wanted to do: ride and train. It’s something you’re bred to do.” Like his father before him. “He’s been successful most of the time,” Edward said. “He’s got a great eye for a horse.” Edward also appreciates his mother’s role in continuing this training tradition: “Behind every good man, there’s a great woman. She’s held the whole thing together.” Edward took out his trainer’s license in March, 2004, and registered his first victory just three months later when Misty Mountain won a maiden fillies race at Leopardstown. “It’s something you were doing as a kid,” he said. “I wasn’t starting from scratch.” He had three more winners in 2004: Bixaare, Stormy Larissa, and Edaliya, and has gone on to win multiple stakes with

Edward Harty with Captain Cee Bees (right and above), the Grade 1-winning chaser who helped launch his National Hunt training career. Eoin Harty (opposite) in his office

Itsonlywoody in 2005 and 2006 and Baron De’l from 2007 to 2009. He also won a stakes with Corcovada in 2009. But he credits Captain Cee Bee with jump-starting his training career. “He was the real turning point,” Edward said. Captain Cee Bee was an instant success in his first year of hurdling in 2007 and is still racing now. “It’s gone very well with him,” Edward said. “You’ve got to be patient.” That impresses his mother: “He’s still successful, and he knows what he wants to do.” Edward has an ally. His wife Marie is one of the leading equine veterinary surgeons in Ireland. “She was the top equine surgeon in the country,” Edward said. “She’s been a great help. She knows horses. She was brought up with horses.” Their two children have extended the Harty

legacy into a sixth generation. Carolyn is a leading show rider while attending college, and Patrick is an assistant to National Hunt trainer Nicky Henderson. “Carolyn rides Captain Cee Bee every day,” Edward said. “I think she’ll end up in the industry, maybe in three-day eventing. Patrick is now Nicky’s Number One assistant. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out where he’s going to wind up.” Edward and Eoin’s sister, Freda, became a Cordon Bleu chef and now owns a string of restaurants with her husband Paul. “She had a pony when she was younger, but she didn’t do any competitive racing,” her mother said. “She’s a very good cook and is a wonderful, wonderful daughter to us.” Asked if she feels blessed to have three accomplished children, Patricia said,

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PROFILE “Absolutely.” Then she added, “Eddie gets all the credit, but if it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t be here.” And she laughed. Eoin is happy to have his spent his whole life with horses. “If it’s not fun, why are we doing it?” he asked. “If you’re dealing with a limited number of horses, you have to know every inch of the horse; know what they like or what they don’t like. Besides keeping them fit, you have to keep them happy. If you believe the talent is there and it’s not coming out, you have to figure out why. That’s the fun part of it. It’s the little things that wins races. I like being around horses. They’ve all got their things: rub them here or there, leave them alone, take them out to graze in the afternoon. It’s fun figuring them out.” Asked if he is still learning how to figure them out, Eoin said, “Every day. I like to just walk up and down the barn.” That approach doesn’t surprise his dad. “He was always a leader,” Eddie said. “He had a good sense of what had to be done.” Asked if that sense came from his dad, Eddie laughed. “He got it from me or his mother,” he said. Eoin had little interest in riding, so, like his father before him, turned to training, trying to absorb all that he could from his dad. “He showed me how horses have nuances, differences, subtleties, the gap between a horse’s eyes, the way they carried their head, the way they walked, the angles of their legs, if a horse had irregularities; the things most people didn’t notice,” Eoin said. “I learned from osmosis.” And by example. He said his dad “had a very strong work ethic.” Eoin was barely in his teens when he

“The family’s been training continuously. There hasn’t been a break. That’s all we really wanted to do: ride and train. It’s something you’re bred to do” Edward Harty realized that he would be spending his life with horses: “Growing up in Ireland, they were very cut and dry about which kids were going to college and which go to work. It became quite apparent which way my life was going.” He was very happy with that direction. Asked if he wanted to go to college, Eoin said, “Hell, no. I hated school. I hate school to this day.” Eoin worked summers for the prominent McGrath family. “He did very good there,” his dad said. Eoin continued his education at the Irish National Stud. “It’s a one-year program,” Eoin said. “It was a fantastic year of my life. I met some special people. We stay in touch.” Following Michael Osborne’s good advice, Eoin journeyed to America. He did sales prep with Crescent Farm and then at Taylor Made Farm, a job he landed by answering an ad in the Blood-Horse. He longed for a different experience. “I knew I didn’t want to stay working on a farm,” he said. “I wanted to experience the racetrack.”

Well Armed with Aaron Gryder up wins the Dubai World Cup in 2009

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A friend of Eoin’s dad knew trainer John Russell, who was also a talented writer. Eoin worked for Russell for seven and a half years. “I was very fortunate to work for John,” Eoin said. “He was a very intelligent man. He was a great tennis player. Great writer. Wry sense of humor. We were very good friends. We’d have dinner or cocktails. He’s one of those rare people who can expound on anything. [Owner] Bill Casner is the same way.” Eoin can thank Russell, who passed away in 2004, for meeting his wife, Kathy. “John needed an exercise rider in the mid-’80s, and my wife showed up one day from Florida,” Eoin said. They married. “I tried to drag it out as long as possible,” he said. “It’s too late now. If I had my way, we’d still be dating.” Eoin said he learned valuable lessons from Russell. “I learned a lot of things I would never know,” Eoin said. “He talked about running a business. John loved to teach. I learned the management of your business. Don’t get into debt. Watch the bottom line. Don’t order too much hay. A lot of people don’t think like that. It was a great education.” Then it was time to move on. Eoin became Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s assistant in 1993. “John was winding down his career, and I ran into Bob,” Eoin said. “Bob needed an assistant and I needed a job. He might have been out of Quarter Horses for a year.” Eoin called to tell his dad the news. “He called and he said he was going to work for Bob Baffert,” Eoin’s dad said. “I said, ‘I don’t know who he is.’ Eoin said, ‘You will.’” Eoin was right, and he was with Baffert for his Triple Crown blitz of the late 1990s. After losing the 1996 Kentucky Derby with Cavionnier by a nose to Grindstone, Baffert’s Silver Charm and Real Quiet won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness the following two years before each narrowly lost the Belmont Stakes in their bids to become the first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. “I had a great experience with Bob,” Eoin said. “It was a lot of fun. With Bob, I got a lot of exposure.” He had no idea how important that was until he received a call from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, patriarch of Godolphin Racing, during the 1999 Breeders’ Cup at Gulfstream Park. “I couldn’t believe it,” Eoin said. “I thought it was a joke.” Eoin went to Dubai to meet Maktoum. “He’s a great guy with a great sense of humor,” Eoin said. “Like John Russell, he’s very intelligent. I enjoyed the excitement from going to Dubai to meet him. I’d seen it as a tourist. Now it was from an insider’s view.” Sheikh Mohammed wanted Eoin to take over a new American stable of Godolphin twoyear-olds. “I figured if you turn that down, you’re never going to train,” Eoin said. Eoin didn’t turn down that offer, taking out his license to begin doing what he was meant to do his entire life: train Thoroughbreds. He had immediate success with Godolphin’s juveniles. Street Cry finished third in the 2000


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EDWARD AND EOIN HARTY Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind Macho Uno and Point Given. A year later, Tempera won the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. After having spent three winters in Dubai, Eoin remained in California in the winter of 2003-2004 to train several horses for Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stable, including, for the first time, older horses. Eoin added Bill Casner, then of WinStar Farm, as a client in 2007. “That happened all because of Silver Charm,” Eoin said. “I met the Casners over there when I was in Dubai.” Silver Charm won the 1998 Dubai World Cup for Baffert and maintains a special place in Eoin’s heart. “He was tough, physically and mentally,” Eoin said. “Those horses are few and far between. A combination of talent and mental fortitude. It’s like catching lightning in a bottle. In the World Cup, I was more spent than the horse was. The stretch was three furlongs. He took on three different challenges by three different horses. He put them all away. That just doesn’t happen.” Opportunities to train for world class owners are just as rare. The Irish teenager who thought he could never compete with the big names in American racing has trained for Godolphin, Darley, and WinStar. “I’ve been lucky,” Eoin said. “Life has been good to me.” Life was so good to Eoin on one weekend in 2008 that he almost posted a unique, historic double. At Saratoga, where Eoin continues to spend his summers, WinStar Farm’s Colonel

John, a son of Tiznow, got a fortuitous bobbing nose victory over Mambo in Seattle in the $1 million Travers Stakes. After jumping into Casner’s private jet with Casner’s wife, his own wife Kathy, and jockey Garrett Gomez, Eoin saddled WinStar’s Well Armed, another son of Tiznow, in the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar. He led late before finishing second by a neck to Go Between. Eoin remains stoic about those two races. “You win some; you lose some,” he said. “You can’t be greedy.” Well Armed more than made it up to him. He finished third by eight lengths in the 2008 Dubai World Cup to two-time Horse of the Year Curlin. A year later under Aaron Gryder, Well Armed’s only jockey in his final 13 starts, Well Armed won the $6 million 2009 Dubai World Cup by a record 14 lengths. “You should never think that you’ve got it won, but I did expect the horse to win that night,” Eoin said. “It was a race that was devoid of any speed. I thought if I could make the lead, I could stretch the competition out.” And when he did? “It was a great achievement,” Eoin said. “The Maktoums were instrumental in my starting out. It was a great night.” No matter how well he does, Eoin is forever connected to his deep roots. He and his family return to Ireland every year to spend a week with his parents and reunite with his brother and sister and their families. “The older my

parents get, the more time I want to spend with them,” Eoin said. Usually, Eoin departs California at the end of November. Last winter, he delayed his departure until early December so he could saddle Darley Stable’s two-year-old filly Arethusa in the $500,000 Grade I Hollywood Starlet at Hollywood Park. Arethusa had broken her maiden by winning the $100,000 Sharp Cat Stakes by 8¼ lengths in her previous start. She finished fifth in the Hollywood Starlet to Streaming. Then Eoin was headed home. Once again, he would get to spend time with his dad. A lot of time. “I hang out with my dad, and we look at what horses I might buy, why we like horses, pluses and minuses,” Eoin said. “He always dealt with a limited budget, but his record is exemplary.” His son is headed in that direction. “He’s part of a great tradition,” Eoin’s dad said. Edward said of his brother, “He’s worked very hard for it. He’s only getting the fruits of his labor.” Edward is too. While Eoin’s son, another Eddie, is in college in California and hasn’t expressed an interest in horseracing, his uncle Edward noted, “It doesn’t look like he’ll end up with horses, but in our family, God knows what’s down the line.” Edward is forever grateful that he returned to horses. “I always wanted to train,” he said. “I wouldn’t change a day. I’ve had a great life.” n

“If you believe the talent is there and it’s not coming out, you have to figure out why. That’s the fun part of it. It’s the little things that wins races” Eoin Harty

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Relative values Edward and Eoin Harty  
Relative values Edward and Eoin Harty  

When he was 17 years old and in the breeding program at Irish National Stud in County Kildare, Eoin (pronounced “Owen”) Harty, a fifth-gener...