06/28/2009 11:00PM

Trainer profile: Eoin Harty


Eoin Harty's pedigree surely dictated his life would be spent with horses. His ancestors were accomplished in a variety of equestrian disciplines.

It's no surprise, then, with such a lineage and exposure to the highest level in the racing world, that Harty, 46, is fully established as a national presence, despite being based in Southern California.

As a boy becoming a man, Harty worked at the Irish National Stud. He then came to the United States and found his way into the care of veteran Southern California horseman John Russell. From there, Harty went to work as the main assistant for trainer Bob Baffert during a span that saw Baffert establish himself as the top conditioner of class horses. Harty's seven years with Baffert saw him help guide the campaigns of Silver Charm and Real Quiet, both Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners in 1997 and 1998, respectively. It was that exposure to the top level, and the obvious contribution Harty made to the success of those and other Baffert trainees, that caught the eye of no less a horseman than Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, head of Dubai's ruling family and prime mover of the Godolphin Stable. Maktoum approached Harty to come work for him, and in 2000 Harty took the leap. The impact was immediate, primarily where Sheikh Mohammed wanted it to be - with 2-year-olds in the United States. Harty guided the early career of Street Cry, who ran third in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile in 2000 and would go on to be a multiple Grade/Group 1 winner. Just a year later, under Harty's guidance, Tempera won the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on her way to being named champion 2-year-old filly. Stablemate Imperial Gesture ran second in that race.

There were other successes, but Harty has since expanded to a public stable, though Sheikh Mohammed's Darley operation remains one of his top clients.

That exposure, and his own talents, have helped Harty make a name for himself. Just last year, his Colonel John was a two-time Grade 1 winner (Santa Anita Derby, Travers), and his Well Armed is a top-class older horse. In fact, last August on consecutive days, he sent out Colonel John to win the Travers by a nose and Well Armed to be second, beaten just a nose, in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. This year, Well Armed romped in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup. Colonel John has had a few setbacks that have prevented him from racing yet this year, but he's been working in strong, steady fashion of late at Santa Anita and is pointing for a Del Mar return, possibly targeting the Pacific Classic along with Well Armed.

Those two, and his prior Godolphin success, brought him national fame, but for the daily player of Southern California races he does well up and down the training scale. His consistency throughout the class levels is notable - 16 percent with maiden claimers, 16 percent with straight maidens, 16 percent with allowance runners, 16 percent in stakes, and 17 percent in graded stakes. There is one notable blip on that radar - he's 0 for his last 8 with claimers.

As you'd expect from his experience with Baffert, and his focus for Godolphin, 2-year-olds remain a strength. Harty clicks at 16 percent overall with juveniles. As with Baffert, Harty's runners are often ready to go right out of the box - 12 percent first time out, 12 percent second time out.

There's an interesting dichotomy regarding blinkers, too. He's 4 for his last 12 (25 percent) when adding blinkers for the first time, but is 0 for his last 4 when removing them.