`War's' sire sells for more than $10 million

Price `we couldn't refuse' sends Our Emblem to Ky.

Horse Racing

May 30, 2002|By Mike Klingaman | Mike Klingaman,SUN STAFF

The Maryland couple who own Murmur Farm have sold the sire of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem for more than 50 times what they paid for the horse last fall.

"They just offered us a price that we couldn't refuse," said Audrey Murray, co-owner of the Harford County outfit where Our Emblem stands at stud.

Murray and her husband, Allen, purchased the 11-year-old thoroughbred last November for a song - about $200,000. Yesterday, they sold Our Emblem to a Kentucky partnership for more than $10 million.

"It [the price] was in double digits," but less than $12 million, said Doug Cauthen, president of Winstar Farm near Versailles, Ky. Winstar and Taylor Made Farm pooled resources to make the deal for Our Emblem, who will likely command a stud fee of $30,000 or more next year, Cauthen said.

The dark bay stallion will remain at the Murrays' farm in Darlington though June to fulfill breeding obligations. At Murmur Farm, which set its stud fees before the Triple Crown races, mares are mating with Our Emblem for either $4,000 or $7,500.

Maryland horsemen had hoped Our Emblem would stay put, given his new-found status as the country's leading sire ($3.6 million in progeny winnings). The Murrays had planned to weigh all offers after the Belmont Stakes on June 8, but said yesterday's bid topped an earlier high of $6.5 million and blew them away.

"We're very sad he's leaving, but we're happy, too," Allen Murray said. "We love our horses, but when the opportunity comes to make money, you have to do it."

As part of the deal, Murmur Farm will be allowed to breed two of its mares each year to Our Emblem, gratis.

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