05/25/2011 4:15PM

Former Farnsworth Farms owner Mike Sherman dies at 71

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Mike Sherman, whose Farnsworth Farms won the 1996 Eclipse Award as breeder with champion Jewel Princess and Grade 1 winner Mecke, died May 7 at his home in North Miami, Fla., at age 71.

His obituary in the Miami Herald listed no cause of death.

A Massachusetts native, Sherman and his family established Farnsworth Farms in Morriston, Fla., in the 1960s and developed it into an important breeding and sales operation whose Farnsworth-bred graduates included Jewel Princess and another champion, Beautiful Pleasure; Grade 1 winners Mecke and Jackie Wackie; and a host of other graded winners and performers, such as 2004 Kentucky Derby third Imperialism. Farnsworth also stood the stallions Maudlin, sire of Beautiful Princess and Mecke, Suave Prospect, Fortunate Prospect, Line in the Sand, Double Honor, and others.

Sherman was Farnsworth’s president until 2006, when he retired and dispersed the last Farnsworth foals at auction for estate planning. Myron and Robert Miller now own Farnsworth.

Sherman decided to go into racing after he and his father Isidore followed the racing fortunes of a family friend, Harbor View Farm owner Lou Wolfson, who bred and campaigned 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed with his wife Patrice. Farnsworth was located just a few miles from Harbor View.

“It’s been a great run,” Sherman said after he sold the property in 2006, though he continued racing horses. “I have enjoyed this business fully, and I am extremely proud of our accomplishments.”

Sherman is survived by his wife of 42 years, Barbara Sherman; children Gena, Lee, and Ryan; and four grandchildren.