Prominent Md. breeder dies at farm John Merryman, 70, bred champ Twixt

HORSE RACING

January 24, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

John Merryman, one of Maryland's most prominent thoroughbred breeders, died yesterday morning at his farm, The Orebanks, near Sparks.

Merryman, 70, had gone to turn his horses out, but died while walking out to the barn, according to his daughter Katy Voss. Voss said that the cause of death is believed to have been a heart attack or stroke.

Not only did Merryman breed such Maryland-bred champions as Twixt, but also five of his six children are professional horse trainers. In addition to Voss, they include Ann, Edwin and Johnny Merryman and Lizzie Hendricks. A sixth child, Frances, lives in Arizona and is not in the horse business.

Voss said her father was scheduled to meet her yesterday morning at Laurel to attend a farewell party for retiring racing secretary Larry Abbundi. Merryman had been at the track on Friday with his wife, Kitty, to see one of their horses, Wood Fox, finish second in the Laurel feature.

The family has set visitation hours at 6-9 p.m. tomorrow at the Lemmon-Mitchell-Wiedfeld funeral establishment at York and Timonium roads in Timonium.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Sherwood Episcopal Church in Cockeysville.

Long-shot winner

Ritchie Trail, the longest shot in the seven-horse field, rallied from next-to-last yesterday and won the $72,975 Maryland Racing Writers' Handicap in a three-horse photo finish.

Buffels and Richard's Lass placed in a dead heat for second.

Winning jockey Mario Pino saved ground on the rail, then swung the mare to the outside on the final turn and rallied wide into the stretch. Ritchie Trail prevailed by a head and returned a winning pay-off of $45.80.

New appointments

Track operator Joe De Francis officially announced yesterday that Tommy Baker is the new Laurel racing secretary, Georgeanne Hale is his assistant and Craig Sculos has been named new director of media relations at Laurel.

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