Dermot Carty, an international bloodstock consultant and longtime associate with Frank Stronach's Adena Springs breeding and racing operation, died Sept. 22 in Ontario, Canada, following several weeks in the hospital due to symptoms related to COVID-19. He was 65.
Born in Manchester, England, into a family with deep Irish roots, Carty's family moved to Ireland when he was young, and there he developed a particular fondness for Roscommon Racecourse. He held a lifelong love of Thoroughbred racing but spent the earlier part of his professional life in the insurance business and also owned restaurants.
Eventually, Carty jumped into the Thoroughbred world with both feet and as a bloodstock agent built long and lasting relationships with many of the world's leading owners and breeders in Australia, Japan, throughout North and South America, and Europe.
"Dermot was the proverbial 'larger than life' character. Once met, never forgotten," said Kirsten Rausing, owner of Lanwades Stud in England and chair of the International Thoroughbred Breeders' Federation. "A marvelous, intuitive, and expert horseman, Dermot was genuine, professional, and honest in all his dealings—and with a great sense of humor, too, to liven things up."
Through Carty, Lanwades acquired grade 1 winner Bobby's Kitten after he'd won the six-furlong Cork Stakes at the Curragh by 8 1/2 lengths. Bobby's Kitten became the first son of multiple leading North American sire Kitten's Joy to stand in Europe and has sired group 1-placed, multiple group winner Sandrine and four other stakes performers.
Carty played a central role in a stallion deal that became the cornerstone of a breeding dynasty and influenced the Thoroughbred breed for generations. In 1993, he acquired El Prado—a group 1 winner and Irish champion 2-year-old male by leading European sire Sadler's Wells—from Coolmore Stud on behalf of Stronach, who was just getting started in the stallion business.
"No one wanted a son of Sadler's Wells in America," Carty said after the influential stallion died of an apparent heart attack Sept. 21, 2009. "Everyone saw him as just a grass horse, but now he's a broodmare sire, a sire of sires, and he's made history. It was a gamble. ... To buy a son of Sadler's Wells was a major move, but it paid off."
El Prado went on to sire Medaglia d'Oro , the leading active North American sire by number of lifetime worldwide black-type winners with 175; Kitten's Joy, who topped the North American general leading sires list in 2013 and 2018 and was the leading turf sire for six consecutive years from 2013-18; 2005 Breeders' Cup Mile (G1T) winner and sire Artie Schiller; and multiple grade 1 winner and successful broodmare Winter Memories. For his career, El Prado sired 83 stakes winners (8% from foals), which include 33 grade/group winners and three champions.
As a broodmare sire, El Prado has been equally influential, with representation by 78 stakes winners that include 27 graded/group winners and six champions. He is broodmare sire of 2007 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1T) winner Bit of Whimsy; 2011 Ballerina Stakes (G1) winner Hilda's Passion, the dam of multiple grade 1 winner and sire Yoshida ; 2012 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Believe You Can; 2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1T) winner Outstrip; and 2019 Canadian champion turf male and Woodbine Mile (G1T) winner El Tormenta.
Other notable stallions Carty purchased for Adena Springs include Sligo Bay and North Light. He also helped guide the careers of prominent stallions Awesome Again, Ghostzapper , Macho Uno, Shaman Ghost , and others.
Carty worked more than 30 years for Adena Springs operations in the United States and Canada as director of sales and bloodstock consultant, taking immense pride in the farm that was honored with 11 Sovereign Awards as Outstanding Breeder (in Stronach's name 1997-99, and the farm's name 2005-08 and 2015-17), and eight Eclipse Awards as Outstanding Breeder between 2000 and 2011, earning five consecutive titles in 2004-08.
"Dermot was a fine person and a real lover of horses," Stronach told BloodHorse. "He has a good understanding and lots of experience with horses, and we really miss him."
Carty was passionate about breeding and racing in Ontario as well, and enthusiastic about recommending matings for clients' mares, especially if the clients were new to the breeding business.
He joined the board of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society-Ontario in 2018 and served on its national board. He resigned this spring for health reasons.
"Dermot was a strong voice in support of Ontario breeders. He could be counted on to share his opinion on any policy that would impact Ontario breeders and stallion owners," said Peter Berringer, president of CTHS-Ontario. "He was a passionate believer in the importance of a strong Ontario-sired program to support the overall health of Ontario's breeding and racing sector. On a personal level, I will miss my friend of 40 years and our conversations on critical industry matters."
Aside from his contributions to the Thoroughbred industry, Carty has been remembered most by friends and associates as a generous and loyal friend.
"He was an incredibly kind person who stuck by you," said Giles Anderson, publisher of Trainer Magazine and managing director of Anderson & Co. Publishing. "If you were a friend of Dermot's, you were a friend of his for life."
Added Rausing: "His many friends and colleagues, the world over, will—like me—greatly miss Dermot Carty, but remember him with affectionate gratitude."
A celebration of life will be held at Hogan's restaurant in King's City, Ontario, where Carty met his wife, Beata. Details are pending.