02/09/2010 1:00AM

Edmund Gann, owner for decades, dies at 86


Edmund Gann, who owned a fleet of tuna-fishing boats and campaigned top Thoroughbreds throughout the world, died after a bout with cancer on Sunday, according to a spokesperson at his San Diego-area office.

Gann, who resided in Rancho Santa Fe near Del Mar racetrack, was 86.

Gann was involved in racing for more than 40 years, and his familiar red, white, and blue silks had some of his finest results in the last decade. He campaigned such horses as Medaglia d'Oro, the winner of seven stakes, including the 2002 Travers Stakes; Peace Rules, the winner of the 2003 Haskell Invitational; You, a multiple Grade 1 winner; Major Success, the winner of the 2006 Palos Verdes Handicap; and Denon, the winner of the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Handicap in 2002.

Medaglia d'Oro, now a leading sire, was second in the 2002 and 2003 Breeders' Cup Classic and second in the 2004 Dubai World Cup. He ended his career with earnings of $5,754,720.

This year, Gann campaigned You and I Forever, who was second in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 10.

Gann was closely allied with the late trainer Bobby Frankel. Initially, they bought European-based horses, including Pay the Butler, who won the 1988 Japan Cup. More recently, Gann bred his own runners.

A native of Massachusetts, Gann moved to California with his family before World War II. Early in his life, Gann worked in a grocery outlet established by his father, and later took a leading role in the family's fleet of fishing boats.

It was through his involvement in fishing that Gann first became involved in racing. When a business deal in Korea struggled, one of Gann's colleagues offered a racehorse as restitution. The horse, Bold Producer, won his first three races for Gann, securing his interest in the sport.

At one point his fleet of fishing boats reached 15, but he later sold the company.

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at Holy Cross Mausoleum in San Diego. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the San Diego Hospice, 4311 3rd Ave., San Diego, Calif., 92103.