Jaws dropped last week when a group of businessmen paid $5� million for the Detroit baseball club. But that money secured title to a fine piece of real estate, to the contracts of 25 major league pros and to innumerable minor league properties. Bui last week, also. 13 American breeders took delivery of an article for which they had paid $672,000. The article was just one horse called Tulya, and he brought nothing with him except four shoes and a blue-blooded lineage which would put a belted earl to shame.
Humphrey Finney, who writes this description of Tulyar's safe transfer from Ireland to Kentucky, is the president of Fasig-Tipton Co., Inc., which has been established in New York since 1898 and is the only company to sell Thoroughbred race horses by auction all over the U.S. His report:
On three successive Mondays three stallions, totaling in value approximately $2 million, have arrived in New York at the teeming Idlewild Airport. Following Solar Slipper and My Babu there came last week Europe's greatest money-winning Thoroughbred, the brown Tulyar, winner of nine races and $217,027. For Tulyar, who had shown his brilliance on the race course by winning Britain's Epsom Derby, St. Leger and Eclipse Stakes among other races, 13 American breeders laid down the sum of $672,000, a record figure for a stallion. The outcross offered to Americans by the combination of the best in European bloodlines, plus an excellent record of racing ability in his direct female line of descent, added to the attractiveness of the stallion.
Tulyar's career has been a matter of public interest on numerous occasions. Bred by the Aga Khan at the Sheshoon Stud in County Kildare, this handsome brown son of Tehran and Neocracy by Nearco was trained by Marcus Marsh at Newmarket and was sold at the end of his 3-year-old career to the Irish government for approximately $700,000. There was great to-do in the Dail, Eire's parliament, with considerable debate as to whether an impoverished country should spend such a vast sum on a race horse. The Tightness of the purchase has been proved by the Irish government's receiving the benefit of three years' use of the horse and then selling him at approximately his cost. There are, nonetheless, many Irish breeders who deplore the horse's sale and departure for America. Said Frank Tuthill, a leading Irish breeder and Steward of The Jockey Club, "This has been our greatest Thoroughbred loss in many years." Ireland's leading veterinarian, Dr. Max Cosgrave, was another who expressed regret over the move. "This is a grand horse, a perfect gentleman. All his foals look alike. He is bound to be a great asset to American breeding."
Tulyar had stood since retirement at stud in the little village of Tully, where the Irish National Stud has been located since taking over the property from the British government in 1943. It was a matter of grave importance to the locality when Tulyar was loaded at 6 o'clock one evening last week. Following him from the stall to the ramp, perhaps a quarter of a mile away, were not less than 250 persons, gathered to wish him well. It was noted that not only was the local parish priest on hand but his Anglican counterpart as well, with additional clerical support from the adjacent cathedral town of Kildare. The local gentry, Irish breeders, farmers and even mothers trailing baby carriages followed in Tulyar's wake.
Tulyar, apparently quite aware that he was the star of the show, marched regally up the road, surveyed the van and proceeded immediately up the ramp. In Ireland all movement of horses is handled by the government's road transport division, which had sent its best horse box for the occasion. It was an easy four-hour trip to Limerick, and then on to Shannon, where Wing Commander Tim Vigors, who had acted as agent in the sale, was on hand to see the horse loaded on Pan American's Clipper flight for New York and Lexington.
The DC-6, in command of a veteran pilot, Captain Freeman Ricketts, awaited its distinguished passenger. One lone portable stall, about three feet wide, seven feet long and five foot six at the sides, was lashed to ringbolts on the plane's floor. Emerging from the side door of his box, Tulyar stood a moment, glanced over the plane from stem to stern, walked down one ramp and up the longer steep incline to the plane's cargo port and disappeared from view of the onlookers. Accompanying him was Matthew Lynch, for 44 years a stallion groom at the Irish National Stud and never before either out of Ireland or on a plane. The latter obviously had more doubts about the trip than had Tulyar, who proceeded to chew on his hay. At 12:40 a.m. Irish time (7:40 p.m. E.D.T.) we were off for America.
Our traveling companions were Colonel Floyd Sager, retired United States Army veterinarian, now resident at the Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky, Tulyar's American home, and the Vigors' traveling groom, Douglas Cormack, a youngster who was making his 12th trip across the ocean with horses. With a 65-foot-by-10-foot floor space, and 8� feet of head room, there was ample area for us to stroll around and relax on bales of hay for beds. In addition, the galley supplied anything needed in the way of food, and a couple of regular passenger seats were in the plane.
Tulyar showed some slight nervousness at the moment of take-off which immediately passed, and never a foot did he move or a hair turn in the 12� hours of the flight to New York. The grooms offered him water from time to time, but he consumed no more than half a bucket throughout the trip. The hay net was more something to be played with than eaten from, not more than 10 pounds being consumed en route—which is rather light for such a powerful horse. Tulyar is an inveterate consumer of Mr. Guinness' famous product. A supply of the latter seemed to be the only thing lacking in the plane for the horse's comfort.