07/02/2010 12:00AM

Black Tie Affair, '91 Horse of Year, dies at 24


Black Tie Affair, the 1991 Horse of the Year, was euthanized Thursday due to laminitis. He was 24.

The gray Miswaki stallion was at the Old Friends Thoroughbred retirement facility in Georgetown, Ky. O'Sullivan Farms in Charles Town, W. Va., pensioned him from stud duty last July after he failed to cover any mares in 2009. Black Tie Affair's last foals are 2-year-olds this season.

"It was an honor to be associated with such an amazing athlete," said Old Friends founder Michael Blowen, who made the decision to euthanize Black Tie Affair in consultation with veterinarian Dr. Doug Byars. "The Old Friends team, headed by Dr. Byars, did everything we could to help this old warrior. In the end, he exhibited the same class as he did when he won the Breeders' Cup Classic. He was the best in every way."

Black Tie Affair was voted champion older male and Horse of the Year for 1991 on the strength of his victories in that year's Breeders' Cup Classic, in which he went wire to wire and defeated Twilight Agenda and Unbridled, the Philip H. Iselin Handicap, and five other graded stakes. He also scored in six consecutive graded stakes that year.

Black Tie Affair won 18 of 45 starts, including 13 stakes, and earned $3,370,694. He also finished second nine times and had six third-place finishes. The late Ernie Poulos trained Black Tie Affair for owner Jeff Sullivan.

"He was just life-changing for us," Poulos's widow, Dee, said. "It was such a wonderful experience with him. He was, and will still be, an inspiration for me."

As a sire, Black Tie Affair got the Grade 1 winners Evening Attire and Formal Gold, multiple graded winner License Fee, and Brazilian champion filly My Tie. At his death, his progeny earnings from 17 crops stood at more than $57.9 million.

Black Tie Affair stood at Vinery in Kentucky, and also stood in Japan and West Virginia.

Black Tie Affair was a son of the Al Hattab stakes winner Hat Tab Girl and was foaled in Ireland. He was a half-brother to Group 1-placed Great Palm.