BLACK TIE AFFAIR - 1986 - 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

 
Photo by equisportphotos.com

 Miswaki - Hat Tab Girl - Al Hattab

Obit:
Black Tie Affair, the 1991 Horse of the Year, was humanely euthanized today at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY.

The 24-year-old stallion was suffering from laminitis, and Old Friends founder and president Michael Blowen and veterinarian Dr. Douglas Byars made the decision early this morning.
 
“It was an honor to be associated with such an amazing athlete,” said Blowen. “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 has been pensioned at Old Friends since July 2009.

In 1991, the steel-gray son of Miswaki was victorious in six consecutive graded stakes for owner Jeff Sullivan and trainer Ernie T. Poulos, including the Stephen Foster (GR III), the Washington Park Handicap (GRII), and Philip H. Iselin Handicap (GRI).

Black Tie Affair capped off his banner year with a gate-to-wire upset win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, conquering a field that included Twilight Agenda, Strike the Gold, and Unbridled. For his efforts he was voted champion older male and Horse of the Year.

The Irish-bred Black Tie Affair, who was produced from the Al Hattab mare Hat Tab Girl, retired with 18 wins from 45 starts and earnings of  $3,370,694.

He entered stud in 1992 at Ben Walden Jr.’s Vinery near Midway, KY, and later stood for several years in Japan. He has sired 35 stakes winners, including Multiple G1 winner Formal Gold and 2001 Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Evening Attire.

After returning to the U.S. in 2004, the stallion stood at Randy Funkhouser’s O’Sullivan Farms near Charles Town, W.VA for a partnership managed by Donna Hayes.

“He was just life changing for us,” said Dee Poulos, wife of late trainer Ernie Poulos.   “It was such a wonderful experience with him. He was, and will still be, an inspiration for me.  When things got tough, I would think about Black Tie. He was my motivator.”

In June, Mrs. Poulos made a trip from her home in Chicago to see her champion at Old Friends. “I felt I just had to see him, and I told my sister that we just had to go,” said Poulos, “and I’m so glad we did. I spent a lot of time with him that day. We brought him out and he was just grazing, and I was playing with his ears–I always loved the feel of his ears – and he suddenly looked up at me and I thought,  ‘Oh, Black Tie just said goodbye. ’ I didn’t want to think that way, but it was a terrible feeling I had.”

Poulos, who took over as  trainer of her husband’s stable after his death in 1997, noted that everyone at the farm was saddened by the news of Black Tie’s passing. “It was just wonderful that he ended up at Old Friends,” Poulos continued.

“The horse was one of a kind.”

History:
Foaled in Ireland, the gray son of Miswaki raced under the colors of Jeffrey Sullivan in the stable of former football player Ernie Poulos. As a two year old he ran in modest listed stakes. The first inkling of his superlative talent came at age three with a graded stakes victory in the Sheridan (G3) at Arlington Park. At four, the momentum built. He took the Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup (G3) at Keeneland, was beaten in the Metropolitan (G1) by Criminal Type and in the Louisiana Downs Budweiser Breeders' Cup by fellow Old Friends retiree Glitterman, he then came back to win the Equipoise (G3) at Arlington and the Budweiser Cup at Hawthorne.

At age five, Black Tie Affair achieved greatness. Returning to Keeneland in April 1991, he won his second consecutive Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup (G3), then launched a monumental six race all-stakes win streak that swept the Stephen Foster (G3) at Churchill, the Michigan Mile, the Cornhuskers H (G3), the Iselin H (G1) at Monmouth and the Washington Park H (G2) at Arlington and topped it all off with a wire-to-wire victory in the 1991 Breeders’ Cup Classic. As Ernie Poulos put it, “This horse has a heart as big as his body.” In a racing career spanning four years, the blue collar hero earned $3,370,694, beat such greats as Unbridled, Summer Squall, Strike the Gold, Marquetry, Fly So Free, and earned the crowning accolade of American racing, the Eclipse Award as the 1991 Horse of the Year.

Black Tie Affair entered stud in 1992 at The Vinery in Kentucky, later stood for some years in Japan, and returned to O’Sullivan Farms in West Virginia for a syndicate managed by Donna Hayes. Among his progeny are greats Formal Gold and Evening Attire. In July 2009 complications from arthritis led to the syndicate’s decision to pension the magnificent gray to Old Friends. We are honored to have him with us.

 Stats: 
Bred in Ireland by S. Peskoff. Foaled April 1, 1986  
45 Starts, 18 Wins, 9 Places, 6 Shows. Career Earnings: $3,370,694

Racing Owner: Jeffrey S. Sullivan      Trainer: Ernie T. Poulos    Jockeys: J. Bailey, P. Day, J.L.X. Diaz, E. Razo, M. Guidry, J. Velasquez, others

Eclipse Awards: 1991 Horse of the Year, 1991 Older Male Horse

Biggest wins: Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) 1991, Iselin H (G1) 1991, Washington Park H (G2) 1991

Other important races: 3rd in Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) 1990

Breeding achievements: Sire of Formal Gold, Evening Attire, License Fee, Double Affair, Inside Affair and other North American and Japanese stakes winners

More interesting facts: Also competed against Glitterman and Criminal Type

At Stud:
Sired Evening Attire (Jockey Club Gold Cup), Formal Gold (Woodward S), Washington Color ($3 million in Japan), License Fee (millionaire) and some 30 other stakes winners

Joined Old Friends: July 2009

MISWAKI
ch 1978
MR. PROSPECTOR
b 1970
RAISE A NATIVE
ch 1961
NATIVE DANCER
RAISE YOU
GOLD DIGGER
b 1962
NASHUA
SEQUENCE
HOPESPRINGSETERNAL
ch 1971
BUCKPASSER
b 1963
TOM FOOL
BUSANDA
ROSE BOWER
ch 1958
PRINCEQUILLO
LEA LANE
HAT TAB GIRL
gr 1979
AL HATTAB
gr 1966
THE AXE
gr 1958
MAHMOUD
BLACKBALL
ABYSSINIA
gr 1953
ABERNANT
SERENGETI
DESPERATE ACTION
ch 1971
BOLD COMMANDER
b 1960
BOLD RULER
HIGH VOLTAGE
CRAFTY ALICE
ch 1964
CRAFTY ADMIRAL
THELMA BERGER
Pedigree generated by PedigreeQuery.com

 

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