04/10/2002 12:00AM

Marvin Warner, owner, dead at 83


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Marvin L. Warner, owner of Warnerton Farm near Ocala, Fla., died of heart failure on April 8 in Cape Canaveral, Fla., after watching the space shuttle Atlantis launch. He was 83.

In racing circles, Warner was best known as a co-owner of Grade 1 winner Stalwart, co-breeder of multiple Grade 1 winner Desert Wine, and owner of farms in Ohio and Florida.

In addition to Stalwart, winner of the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes in 1981, Warner raced stakes winners Justa Reflection, Sweetest Fantasy, Deese du Val, and others.

A member of the 1968 United States delegation to the United Nations and the U. S. ambassador to Switzerland under President Jimmy Carter, Warner later became a financier whose reputation was tarnished in fallout from the 1980's savings and loans failures.

Warner was convicted in 1987 on six counts related to the collapse of Ohio's Home State Savings Bank, and he served two years and four months of a 3 1/2-year sentence in Ohio. Released in 1993, he moved to Ocala.

Warner's son, Mark, said that his father had "begrudgingly" put the Ocala farm, which includes a training center, up for sale before his death.

"We plan to disperse his breeding stock of approximately 40 horses in one of the fall sales," he said.