08/14/2013 12:11PM

Maryland breeder Murray dies at 80


Allan Murray, owner of Murmur Farm and Berkley Training Center in Darlington, Md., died August 13 at age 80.

Murray, a native of Havre de Grace, Md., became interested in Thoroughbreds at an early age, attending the races at the town’s eponymous track. He began his breeding operation in 1959, based in Churchville, Md.

While his farm grew to over 100 horses, Murray spent nearly four decades working at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, an army post on the Chesapeake Bay used to test military equipment. He retired in 1989 to focus solely on his breeding operation.

Murray is perhaps best known for briefly standing Our Emblem, sire of 2002 dual classic winner War Emblem, and selling him for a massive profit. He purchased the well-bred, but underperforming sire from Claiborne Farm for $200,000 after the 2001 breeding season, and then stood him while his star offspring won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

Prior to War Emblem’s 8th-place finish in the Belmont Stakes, Our Emblem was sold to the partnership of WinStar Farm and Taylor Made Stallions for $10.1-million, and stood at Taylor Made’s Nicholasville, Ky. farm the following season.

Murmur Farm currently stands three stallions: 1996 Preakness winner Louis Quatorze, Cherokee’s Boy, and Scipion.

Murray is survived by his wife, Audrey, three children, eight grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Maryland Horsemen’s Assistance Fund, 500 Redland Court, Suite 105, Ownings Mills, Md., 21117 or to the Maryland Heart Association.