09/24/2012 5:00PM

Eamon Cleary, owner of Clearsky Farms, dies in Kentucky at 52

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Clearsky Farms owner and Irish-born businessman Eamon Cleary, who most recently sold one of the Keeneland September yearling auction’s two Sea the Stars yearlings for $675,000, died Friday in Kentucky, farm manager Barry Robinette confirmed.

Cleary was 52 and had been found to have cancer.

Cleary established Clearsky Farms near Lexington in 2009. Earlier this year, the farm sold a $1 million Tapit-Liberty Flag colt to Black Rock Thoroughbreds at the Fasig-Tipton Florida select 2-year-old sale. At Keeneland September, Clearsky’s $675,000 Sea the Stars colt led a consignment that grossed more than $2.5 million for a dozen yearlings.

Cleary campaigned New Zealand Grade 1 winner Rags to Riches, as well as New Zealand champion steeplechaser Rand.

Cleary was born in Co. Monaghan, Ireland. According to published biographical information, he left school at 11 to work on his family’s farm, then turned his hand to the concrete and construction business by the time he was 20. In 1991, he sold a large agricultural supply business that he had developed in Ireland. Cleary’s wide-ranging business interests stretched from Australia and New Zealand to South America, Ireland, and Eastern Europe, and they included companies in agriculture, property development, and Thoroughbred breeding. In addition to Clearsky Farms, Cleary also bought a Thoroughbred breeding farm and polo facility outside Buenos Aires in 2009. 

Cleary was based for years in New Zealand, where the country’s National Business Review ranked him the nation’s third wealthiest man with NZ$1.2 billion, but he more recently had moved to Malta.