obituary

Letter to the Editor: Terence Collier Regarding the Passing of Dr. Billy Marrs

It seems that every tick of the clock marks the demise of another friend and colleague in my life. Word came in today of the passing on January 15th of Dr. Billy (Merritt William) Marrs, who died in Indio, California, close to his winter home in Palm Springs. Such news usually travels fast in our circles, but this veterinarian has spent more of the last few years on out-of-town golf courses than on the backside or at a horse sale. Nevertheless, there will be a few tears and many fond...

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Pioneering Sportswoman Virginia Kraft Payson Dies at 92

Virginia Kraft Payson, a pioneer with a buoyant spirit who often referred to her life as "a magic carpet ride" woven from a whirlwind of adventure travel, a passion for outdoors journalism, and a mid-life immersion into the world of Thoroughbred racing and breeding, died Jan. 9 at age 92 at her Payson Stud farm in Lexington, Kentucky. The cause of death was complications from Parkinson's disease, as confirmed by Christian Erickson, a decades-long family friend and the trustee of the Payson estate. Payson's entry into Thoroughbred ownership was the...

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Champion NH Sire And Classic Winner Milan Passes At 24

Classic hero Milan (GB) (Sadler's Wells--Kithanga {Ire}, by Darshaan {GB}), died at Grange Stud on Wednesday, Dec. 21, Coolmore announced on Thursday. The 2019/20 Champion National Hunt Sire was 24. "Milan was a very good-natured horse and will be sadly missed by everyone here," said Catherine Magnier. "He was a wonderful servant providing top class horses year in year out." Bred by Fittocks Stud, Milan was bought by Demi O'Byrne for 650,000gns as a yearling at Tattersalls in 1999, and joined Aidan O'Brien's yard. Racing for Michael Tabor, he won...

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Retired New York Post Racing Writer Ray Kerrison Passes

Ray Kerrison, a former racing columnist for the New York Post known as a fearless reporter who was never afraid to tackle the most sensitive subjects, passed away Sunday. He was 92. His death was first reported by the Post, for whom he covered 32 Kentucky Derbies. A native of Australia, Kerrision came to the Post in 1977 and was a regular on the racing beat through the 1985 season. He then moved over to the news side and worked as a columnist up until 2013. The news department would...

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Red Baron's Barn and Rancho Temescal's Jed Cohen Passes Away

California's Red Baron's Barn and Rancho Temescal--the nom de course of the Cohen family--lost the stable founder and the Cohen family patriarch, Jed Cohen, Sunday, Nov. 27. Cohen passed away in Del Mar at the age of 89 after battling health issues for the past few years. Among the top horses raced by the Cohens--sometimes in partnership--were GISWs Janet (GB) (Emperor Jones), River Boyne (Ire) (Dandy Man {Ire}), and Dr. Schivel (Violence). The stable most recently took the leading owner title at the 2022 Santa Anita fall and winter meets...

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Angel Penna, Jr. Passes Away at 74

Angel Penna, Jr., who trained Eclipse Award winners Christmas Past and Laugh and Be Merry and was the son of Hall of Famer Angel Penna, Sr., passed away Tuesday at age 74. Battling dementia, Penna passed away in his sleep in a memory care facility near his home in Boca Raton, Florida. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Penna was an assistant to his father before going out on his own in 1980. His clients at the time included Cynthia Phipps, who raced in the colors of Wheatley Stable, her grandmother's...

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Sir Evelyn de Rothschild Dies at 91

Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, owner-breeder of Crystal Ocean (GB), the world's co-top-rated horse of 2019, has died at the age of 91. Born in August 1931 and a member of the noted banking family, Rothschild enjoyed much success on the turf with horses bred and raised at his Southcourt Stud in Bedfordshire. Most notable among them was the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Crystal Ocean, a top-class middle-distance performer who now stands at The Beeches Stud in Ireland, and whose seven group wins included the G1 Prince of Wales's S. at Royal...

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Four-Time German Champion Sire Areion Euthanised At 27

Star German sprinter Areion (Ger) (Big Shuffle--Aerleona {Ire}, by Caerleon), a multiple champion sire in his native land, was euthanized due to complications from colic at the age of 27 on Friday, Galopp Online reported. A resident of Gestut Etzean at the time of his death, Areion formerly raced in the colours of Marlene Haller. "We were with him a week before," Frank Haller told Sport-Welt on Sunday. "Actually, we had the impression that he was in a good mood. He then came to the clinic in Iffezheim with a...

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Florida Racing Official Ed Mackie Passes Away

Ed Mackie, a much respected and admired presence in Florida racing for 50 years, died suddenly Wednesday evening. He was 75. Mackie was Gulfstream's director of mutuels since 2002, but before that had served in similar roles at Hialeah Park and Biscayne Dog Track. Mackie was also director of mutuels at Calder Race Course, Tropical Park and Gulfstream Park West since 2003. Before working in pari-mutuels, Mackie was a champion amateur jai alai player. Mackie was admired by those he worked with as well as horsemen for his knowledge, his...

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Offield Saddles a Final Winner–from the Hereafter

Statistically speaking, Northern Rose (Northern Causeway), a 6-year-old chestnut mare with a 4-for-32 claiming-level record, was hardly the star of the stable for trainer Duane Offield, who died Sept. 29 after a long fight with cancer. But the 82-year-old conditioner took an outsized shine to her anyway. A homebred for one of his most dedicated clients, Northern Rose had been in Offield's care since she began her career 3 1/2 years ago, and she enjoyed a prime stall under Offield's Golden Gate Fields shedrow, not far from his office so...

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Trainer Duane Offield Passes Away

Longtime Northern California trainer Duane Offield passed away on Thursday after a lengthy illness. He was 82-years-old. Offield began his training career in 1976 and saddled 721 winners from 8,038 starters, with lifetime purse earnings of $10,009,202. His most significant win came in the 1990 GI Haskell Invitational S. at Monmouth Park with Restless Con. Services are pending. "Our racing community here at Golden Gate will greatly miss Duane Offield," said Golden Gate Fields Vice President and General Manager David Duggan. "Duane was a soft-spoken man who simply loved coming...

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Group 1-Winning Shuttle Stallion National Defense Dies In Australia

Group 1 winner and young shuttle sire National Defense (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}--Angel Falls {GB}, by Kingmambo) passed away in Australia, Widden Stud reported. The 2016 G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere hero was bred by Ecurie des Monceaux and partners. From five starts, he broke his maiden on debut at Deauville, and was also placed in the G3 Prix des Chenes, prior to his Group 1 win. Kept in training at three by Sun Bloodstock, the Criquette Head trainee was also second in the G3 Prix Djebel. Retired to the Irish...

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